The Williams Formula 1 story is almost unique in Formula 1 in 2018.
The team, founded by Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head in 1977 after two previous attempts by Williams to crack Formula 1 proved unsuccessful, has battled against the might of the manufacturer for 40+ years, sometimes successfully, sometimes (as in 2018) not so
That Williams has emerged profitable, solvent and as keen to win as ever after all that time is a testament to the passion, resilience and determination of all those involved with the Williams Formula 1 Team.
Williams Formula 1 debut came in the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix with Patrick Neve at the wheel of a March chassis, ahead of the launch of the Williams team’s new in-house built chassis which was to follow in 1978.
Williams first Formula 1 win came in 1979, in just their second full season in Grand Prix racing, when Clay Regazzoni won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone – the Williams Team’s home Grand Prix.
114 Grand Prix wins were to follow for Williams, a tally that took their drivers to 7 Formula 1 World Championships – Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve all taking one each – and their cars to nine World Constructors Championships (1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997).
Williams are, like Lotus, Tyrrell, Brabham before them, and McLaren and Red Bull in Formula 1 today, a ‘constructor’. A constructor is a team who builds their own car, and works with a third party to build and supply engines.
In the past this has proved to be hugely successful, with Ford, Honda and Renault taking the team to multiple championships, but can also have its drawbacks, most notably when said engine suffers from performance or reliability issues and it’s completely out of the team’s control.
Despite these drawbacks, Williams have stuck to their principles in that a Formula 1 Team must be independent, and Formula 1 must have constructors in order to succeed.
The 2018 Formula 1 season is a 21 Grand Prix calendar with Grands Prix in countries from across the globe, from Australia in March to Abu Dhabi in November, taking in Great Britain, Germany, Singapore and The USA in between.
Williams two Formula 1 drivers for 2018 are Canadian Lance Stroll and Russian Sergey Sirotkin, both relatively new to the sport, with Sirotkin competing in Formula 1 for the first time having graduated through F2.
2018 has been a fallow season by Williams’ standards (their worst in their 41 year Formula 1 history!) but with Claire Williams‘ guidance, Paddy Lowe‘s expertise and at least one potential Formula 1 World Champion driver in George Russell, the team has enormous potential for the future, to marry with a history, heritage and prestige that few other Formula 1 teams can boast.