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Boardroom’s Formula 1 Beginner’s Guide to Williams

Last Updated: October 17, 2022
Get to know the iconic Williams Racing team, including 2022 drivers Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi.

One of the most enduring names in auto racing is having a rough go of it in the 2022 Formula 1 campaign. But the outfit Frank Williams launched 45 years ago has made a mark in the sport that the vast majority of teams ever to hit an F1 track would be jealous of.

Nine Constructors’ Championships, No. 2 all-time behind only Ferrari. Seven Drivers’ champions under their banner, No. 4 all-time. They may not have cracked the top three of the Constructors’ standings since 2015, but Williams is one of the most resonant names on your favorite circuit — one that’s boasted such names as Keke and Nico Rosberg, Alain Prost, and Valtteri Bottas over the years.

Today, with the team still seeking to find its 2022 footing with Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi behind the wheel, let’s get to know Williams Racing.

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History of Williams Racing in Formula 1

Founded: 1977
Headquarters: Grove, England
Owner: Dorilton Capital
Key sponsors: Sofina, Lavaza, Duracell, Pirelli, Financial Times, Symantec, Umbro, PPG, Dorilton Ventures

Williams Racing wasn’t actually Frank Williams’ first foray into F1 — that distinction goes to Frank Williams Racing Cars, which competed 105 times between 1969 and 1976 before being bought out by Canadian oil mogul Walter Wolf.

What we now know as Williams Racing entered the fold in 1977 with a March Engineering chassis and a Ford Cosworth engine. Their first “FW” chassis — “Frank Williams,” to be clear — debuted a year later, a designation that has applied to every Williams Formula 1 car since. The breakthrough arrived in 1980 when Alan Jones drove his FW07 to a Drivers’ Championship title, while Williams also claimed the Constructors’ crown with 120 points. They’d repeat the latter feat the very next year, the second of what is now nine such titles to date, the most recent coming in 1997.

Until Ferrari broke through in 2000 in Michael Schumacher’s first year with the famous Scuderia, Williams’ nine Constuctors’ Championships ranked No. 1 all-time.

The 90s weren’t all fun and games, however. The 1994 campaign was the legendary Ayrton Senna’s first year in a Williams car following a brilliant run at McLaren; tragically, he collided with a concrete barrier at Imola and lost his life at the age of 34. Frank Williams and five other team officials would be charged with manslaughter in Italy and later acquitted.

As the millennium turned, the winning days of Jones, Keke Rosberg, and Alain Prost fell further into the rearview. Since 2004, the team has finished top-four in the Constructors’ standings just three times (including last-place finishes in three of the past four years). In 2012, Frank Williams stepped away from the organization’s board, with daughter Claire replacing him.

In the fall of 2020, one year before Frank passed away at the age of 79, Williams Racing was sold to New York-based Dorilton Capital. Claire Williams would decline an offer to stay on as team principal.

2022 Williams F1 Drivers

Alex Albon
  • No. 23 car
  • Finished third in 2018 Formula 2 championship
  • First Thai driver with a Formula 1 podium finish (2020 Tuscan GP)

After one year away from an F1 seat, former Toro Rosso and Red Bull wheelman Alex Albon is back for his third world championship campaign. He posted a career-best seven consecutive points finishes in 2020 driving alongside Max Verstappen.

Nicholas Latifi
  • No. 6 car
  • Finished second in 2019 Formula 2 championship
  • Earned first F1 points at 2021 Hungarian GP

Depending on your level of graciousness, Canada’s Nicholas Latifi is either fairly or unfairly the target of memes acknowledging his occasional penchant for getting into collisions that preclude the finishing of a race. For what it’s worth, the 26-year-old has only had to retire from one race this season — the same number of times as defending world champ Verstappen.

Williams’ F1 Championships & Milestones

Numbers reflect results through the 2022 Miami Grand Prix.

Constructors’ Championships: 9 (1980, ’81, ’86, ’87, ’92, ’93, ’94, ’96, ’97)
Drivers’ Championships: 7 (1980, ’82, ’87, ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97)

All-time Formula 1 wins: 114
F1 podiums: 313
F1 poles: 128
F1 fastest laps: 133

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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.