Frank Williams, Dominant Formula One Director, Dies at 79

His mother eventually sent him to a Roman Catholic boarding school in Scotland, where he found his love for cars and speed, especially after riding in a friend’s Jaguar.

Despite excelling in languages ​​- he spoke several things fluently, including Italian – and passed the university entrance exam, he failed college to enter the race. He has supported himself with a range of assignments during the workday, including as the Yorkshire representative for the Campbell Soup Company.

Between jobs, he traveled around Europe, working as an unpaid mechanic on racing teams on some of the continent’s smaller racetracks. He also raced from time to time, but with little success.

Instead, he found he had a knack for the business side of the sport. As he moved around Europe, he bought and sold parts, brokered a line of spark plugs and tires between racing teams, and amassed a small sum of money to start his own team.

He founded Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966, with Piers Courage as his driver, competing in Formula Two races. Three years later, they were up to Formula One, the elite level of motorsport, and Mr. Courage, the rich, dashing heir to the brewing fortune, suddenly became one of the figures. Britain’s most recognized sport.

Although Mr Williams said he never considered quitting the sport after his friend’s death, it clearly had an impact on him and his team. Unable to find a winning driver, he soon sank deep into debt, dodging debt collectors and leaving his job at a phone booth after he stopped paying his phone bills.

His wife, Virginia, whom he married in 1974, kept him together, settled the bills and loaned him money her parents had sent her. He spends freely on his obsession; Once, when she gave him eight pounds to buy groceries, he spent it on spark plugs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/08/sports/autoracing/frank-williams-dead.html Frank Williams, Dominant Formula One Director, Dies at 79

Olly Dawes

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