Team History

Photo: Williams F1

Statistics

  • First entry as a team: 1977 Spanish Grand Prix
  • First entry as a constructor: 1978 Argentine Grand Prix
  • Races entered as a team: 720 entries (716 starts)
  • Races entered as a constructor: 709 entries (708 starts)
  • Constructors’ Championships: 9 (1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997)
  • Drivers’ Championships: 7 (1980, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997)
  • Race victories: 114
  • Pole positions: 128
  • Fastest laps: 133

Retrospective

Williams Grand Prix Engineering in one of the most successful racing teams in the history of Formula One. Based on the number of race and World Championships wins, it is the third-best team of all time, just behind Ferrari and McLaren.

The team was founded in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head, just after Frank Williams left his first team, called Wolf-Williams Racing at the time. The team was ran out of an empty carpet warehouse in Didcot, Oxfordshire, and entered the latter half of the 1977 Formula 1 season with a purchased March chassis and driver Patrick Nève. At this time Williams started designing its first Formula 1 car with a team of 17 people. The car was called the FW06, using the initials of the team’s founder Frank Williams, a practice that continues to this day. The following 1978 season marked the team’s first entry in the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship, as well as its first win at the British Grand Prix, courtesy of Switzerland’s Clay Regazzoni.

In 1980 Williams won its first Formula One Constructors’ Championship with drivers Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones – who also won the Drivers’ title. This was just the beginning as Williams would win eight more Constructors’ Championships with Cosworth, Honda and Renault engines, as well as six more Drivers’ titles with Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. With nine Constructors’ titles to its name, the team held the record for most Championships won from 1997 until Ferrari surpassed it in 2000.

Throughout its history Williams employed many notable drivers, designers and other F1 talent. Williams gave Ayrton Senna his first F1 test in 1983 and later he would drive for the team in 1994. Unfortunately his Williams career was short lived, as he would lose his life in a tragic accident at Imola in the same year. Legendary British driver Nigel Mansell scored his first grand prix win and his only Driver’s Championship driving for Williams. Keke Rosberg, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve all won their first World titles behind the wheel of a Williams. On the technical side, Williams employed some of the best and most successful F1 personalities such as Adrian Newey, Paddy Lowe, Ross Brawn, Neil Oatley and Frank Dernie.

After more than 30 years of competing in Formula 1, Williams is recognized and one of the most successful organizations in sport. For its successes the team was awarded two Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement, while its founders Frank Williams and Patrick Head were knighted in 1999 and 2015 respectively.

As a racing team, Williams is unique in modern Formula 1. While most of today’s F1 teams are divisions of larger companies with racing being just a small part of their business, Williams is an independent company whose main focus is racing.

Striving for engineering excellence, Williams expanded its interests beyond just racing and established Williams Advanced Engineering and Williams Hybrid Power with the goal of adapting Formula 1 technology for commercial applications. In 2014 Williams Hybrid Power was sold to GKN, a British multinational automotive and aerospace components company. Williams also operates Williams Heritage, a division that manages the team’s collection of historic Formula 1 cars.

Explore Williams’ year-by-year Racing History and Results!

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