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Happy Birthday Sir Francis Owen Garbett Williams

April 16, 2020

It may have slipped your notice, but I’ve been on an enforced absence from anything computer related as a result of a nasty bout of COVID-19 (from which I am now fully recovered, thankfully!)

Even without the pox, I probably wouldn’t have been quite as prolific in writing these blogs as quite honestly, since everyone and everything is on lockdown, there’s no Formula 1 action to speak of, something that’s likely to continue for some time yet and so without wanting to join the trend of inane online chat about favourite F1 liveries of all time, sharing the latest Sporcle quiz about drivers with facial hair to have won a Grand Prix in the month of August, or even worse – eSports – I’ve got very little to write about.

However, if there’s anything that can spur me into re-action it’s the opportunity to celebrate one of Formula 1’s most iconic figures.

Seventy eight years ago today, in a town on the banks of the River Tyne in the North East of England, Sir Francis Owen Garbett Williams – better known to you and I as Sir Frank Williams – was born.

Sir Frank went on – through sheer grit, determination and hard graft – to found one of the most successful Formula 1 teams of the modern era, and one that would play a pivotal part in shaping the sport we know and love (and miss so much!) today.

Since its formation in 1977 (Williams Grand Prix Engineering was actually Sir Frank’s second crack at Formula 1 after Frank Williams Racing Cars was gobbled up by Walter Wolf, Frank subsequently finding himself surplus to requirements) Williams has won 114 Grand Prix and 16 Formula 1 World titles, a record matched by only McLaren and Ferrari.

It will no doubt be a strange birthday for Sir Frank – probably the first in 50 years that he isn’t in some way preoccupied with the cut and thrust of an ongoing Formula 1 season, but I hope it’s one he can enjoy despite this, and that he’s able to have his family join him for this momentous occasion whether it’s in person or otherwise.

Happy Birthday Sir Frank!


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