Sir Frank Williams, founder of Williams Racing and former team principal, has died aged 79, the team has confirmed.
Williams founded the Williams Racing team in 1966 and, with two Williams teams, became the sport’s longest-serving team principal, serving more than 50 years in charge before stepping completely aside earlier in 2021.
The team confirmed the news on Sunday afternoon via a statement posted to their website. It read: “It is with great sadness that on behalf of the Williams family, the team can confirm the death of Sir Frank Williams CBE, Founder and Former Team Principal of Williams Racing, at the age of 79.
“After being admitted into hospital on Friday, Sir Frank, passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family.
“Today we pay tribute to our much loved and inspirational figurehead. Frank will be sorely missed. We request that all friends and colleagues respect the Williams family’s wishes for privacy at this time.”
Williams Racing won seven drivers’ titles and nine constructors’ championships over his 50 year spell, including a glorious period in the 1990s when the team won four of its seven drivers’ championships.
F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “This morning Claire Williams called to inform me of the very sad news that her beloved father, Sir Frank Williams, had passed away.
“He was a true giant of our sport that overcame the most difficult of challenges in life and battled every day to win on and off the track. We have lost a much loved and respected member of the F1 family and he will be hugely missed.
“His incredible achievements and personality will be etched on our sport forever. My thoughts are with all the Williams family and friends at this sad time.”
Current Williams Racing team principal and CEO, Jost Capito, said: “The Williams Racing team is truly saddened by the passing of our founder Sir Frank Williams.
“Sir Frank was a legend and icon of our sport. His passing marks the end of an era for our team and for the sport of Formula 1. He was one of a kind and a true pioneer. Despite considerable adversity in his life, he led our team to 16 World Championships, making us one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport.
“His values including integrity, teamwork and a fierce independence and determination, remain the core ethos of our team and are his legacy, as is the Williams family name under which we proudly race. Our thoughts are with the Williams family at this difficult time.”