Born in 1956, Dickie Stanford grew up in Swindon and was first attracted to Formula 1 when he attended the 1968 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch aged 12.
On leaving school, Stanford worked for MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries), where he was responsible for stockpiling food in case of war, but at evenings and weekends he was able to indulge his real passion when he and a friend prepared and raced a Formula Ford car.
This allowed him to learn the skills necessary to become a professional mechanic, and shortly afterwards he was able to quit his job with MAFF, and take up employment with a local car garage.
His first job in racing was with Sports 2000, a restricted-rules class of two seater, mid-engined, open-cockpit, prototype racing cars, used largely in amateur road racing, where he was mechanic to future BTCC champion James Weaver and Jonathan Palmer, who would later race for Williams in Formula 1.
From there he moved to Formula 3 with Tiga cars – a team/constructor established by Grand Prix stars Tim Schenken and Howden Ganley, and then up a class with Ralt in Formula 2, who, at the time, were using Williams’ wind-tunnel.
Whilst in F2 he had his sights set firmly on Formula 1, and applied for a job with Williams Grand Prix Engineering, but having got as far as a job interview he found out that they weren’t actually recruiting, and so he remained at Ralt.
The following two seasons was a glittering time for Ralt in F2 with two championship wins with Jonathan Palmer and Mike Thackwell respectively, and so when Stanford returned to Williams ahead of the 1985 season with two further F2 titles under his belt his offer was a lot more compelling and they invited him to join.
He joined Williams as Race Mechanic to Nigel Mansell and after three years in the job moved across to the test team for a couple of years before becoming Williams’ Chief Mechanic in 1990 ahead of the team’s most glorious spell in F1.
When Ian Harrison left Williams F1 for BTCC in 1995, Stanford was promoted to Team Manager, where he remained for a decade, overseeing much success including multiple World Championship wins before taking a factory-based job back at Grove to spend more time with his family.
However, the lure of Formula 1 was too great and Dickie returned to his old role at Williams in 2010, managing the team both at races and in testing, guiding the team through a tricky period where results were difficult to come by.
In 2014 it was announced that Stanford would be stepping down from his race day and testing roles, but would remain with Williams as the General Manager of Williams Heritage, a new division responsible for the maintenance and public demonstration of the team’s historic Formula 1 cars led by Sir Frank Williams’ son, Jonathan.