Vale Frank Williams (1942 – 2021)
To any follower of Formula One, Frank Williams needs no introduction; nor does Formula One World Champion in 1980 – our own Alan Jones.
In an interview Alan Jones did with Motorsport.com, Sir Frank’s greatest attributes were determination and sheer enthusiasm for motorsport, highlighted by his persistence in attending Grands Prix in the years that followed the car crash that left him in a wheelchair, Alan Jones said,
“He epitomised the spirit and the determination of the ultimate enthusiast,” said Jones.
“At the end of the day, apart from being a team owner, he loved motorsport.
“How he put up with going to so many Grands Prix as a quadriplegic I will never know.
“I think his legacy will be that you can basically do anything as long as you put your mind to it,” Alan Jones concluded.
As well as the breakthrough title in 1980, Jones played a pivotal role in the early success of the Williams squad, during a four-season stint from 1978 to 1981.
Reflecting on that success, Jones said it was made more special by an ‘underdog spirit’ shared by himself, Williams and famous technical guru, Patrick Head.
“We had a wonderful working relationship,” said Jones.
“There were three of us – Frank, Patrick and me – we were all of a similar age,
“It was fabulous when we all came together and to win against established names was very, very satisfying.
“Frank started out racing second-hand F1 cars and scrambling up bits and pieces, so for him to win a World Championship was the culmination of a dream.”
Following Sir Frank’s debilitating accident, his daughter Claire stepped up to help manage the Williams Team, remaining in that role until late 2020, when she handed over the reins to the new Williams management.