Williams’ cars will feature a tribute to Sir Frank Williams at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, following the death of the team’s founder earlier this week.The 79-year-old passed away on Sunday. The addition to the car’s livery is one of several tributes the team will make in his honour this weekend.
Williams’ team won the constructors’ championship nine times and took drivers to the title on seven occasions. Its tally of 114 wins, the most recent of which came in 2012, is surpassed only by Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.
RaceFans understands F1 is also planning to pay tribute to Williams ahead of Sunday’s first race on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The team was sold by the Williams family to current owners Dorilton last year. However the team’s head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, said its founder remained a uniquely important figure.
“The sad events of last weekend mean that this is our first race weekend without Sir Frank Williams as the patriarch and figurehead of the Williams organisation,” he said. “Although he had only very rarely been at the track in recent years, he still had a strong presence in the garage; his passion, strength and unstinting enthusiasm providing additional motivation to those of us fortunate enough to race the cars bearing his name.
“Although an era ended last weekend, Frank’s legacy will live on and we will continue to race in the manner that he would expect, drawing upon his memory as a source of pride and inspiration. We send the Williams family our deepest sympathies and reassure them that we will continue to honour his legend.”
Driver Nicholas Latifi said “the whole team will be racing for Sir Frank this weekend.”
“His contribution to Formula 1 cannot be underestimated,” Latifi added, “and to represent his name on the world stage has been an honour.”
George Russell also paid tribute to Williams, saying “as a team we are determined to pay our respects and honour him in the way we know he would want us to; by racing.
“In terms of British sport, Sir Frank was an incredibly important figure. Not just because of the adversity he faced, but because of the success that the team went on to achieve following his accident. He was somebody that so many people looked up to.
“He would be wheeled around the whole factory and there was this presence in the room whenever he was around. It motivated the team to really get on with their jobs and be so dedicated, because of the man he was.”
Williams has a particular connection to Saudi Arabia, which is hosting its first F1 race this weekend. The team obtained significant backing from national airline Saudia in the early eighties, and carried their colours when it won its first world championships.
Read a personal tribute to the late Sir Frank Williams in the new edition of the RacingLines column today on RaceFans
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