The Williams team have planned number of tributes to founder Sir Frank Williams‘ fifty years in Formula 1 at this weekends British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the anniversary of which is 2019.
Sir Frank first entered Formula 1 in 1969 with a single car, driven by close friend Piers Courage, under the guise of Frank Williams Racing Cars.
That first season yielded two second places at Monaco and Watkins Glen for Courage before he was tragically killed a year later.
Frank Williams Racing Cars became a regular in Formula 1, before in 1976, a strapped for cash Frank sold a majority stake in his team to Canadian Walter Wolf, but after initially being retained as team manager of Williams-Wolf as they were by now known, relations became strained and Sir Frank left the team.
After a difficult time watching the sport he loved from the sidelines, Frank joined forced with Patrick Head to found Williams Grand Prix Engineering – the team that remains in Formula 1 today (the third oldest entry in Formula 1 behind Ferrari and McLaren).
Sunday will also mark 40 years to the day since Williams took their first ever Formula 1 race victory in the 1979 British Grand Prix at Silverstone with Clay Regazzoni behind the wheel of a Williams FW07. (The anniversary being on 14th July)
Amongst the things planned to mark the special occasions is a series of special messages on the cars themselves which will pay tribute to Sir Frank.
It is also expected (or at least I expect!) that Silverstone will announce that they’ve agreed a deal to continue the British Grand Prix beyond its current contract which ends this year. It is a long protracted saga that really only seemed to have one outcome – that one of the parties involved would back down and Britain would continue to have itself a motor race.
So whilst the current performance of this year’s Williams FW42 might not be the source of much joy behind the scenes at Williams, there is still much to celebrate.
And should Williams find themselves with a strong result come Sunday the party will really get going!