Active years: 1977-
Previous identities: none
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Frank Williams originally ran a team using customer cars. Then in 1977 he set up Williams as an F1 constructor and two years later Clay Regazzoni gave the team its first win at Silverstone.
The following year Williams were constructors’ champions for the first time and Alan Jones claimed the drivers’ title. Two years later Keke Rosberg followed in Jones’s footsteps, again with Cosworth power.
A switch to Honda turbo engines took a while to come good but it delivered in a big way in the mid-eighties when Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell were driving. Williams won back-to-back constructors’ championships, Mansell narrowly missed the 1986 title, and Piquet clinched it the following year.
But the loss of Honda engines to McLaren in 1988 hit the team hard. The seeds of recovery were sown when they switched to Renault power in 1989.
Mansell returned in 1991 and the following year Williams dominated again with the FW14B, which pioneered technology such as active suspension. While Mansell fumed at the arrival of Alain Prost for 1993 it didn’t knock the team off its stride – they easily retained their constructors’ title and Prost retired after claiming his fourth drivers’ championship.
Ayrton Senna arrived in Prost’s place in 1994 but it proved a tragically short partnership. Senna was killed in the third race of the season, leaving Damon Hill to lead the team.
Hill delivered the title in 1996 and Jacques Villeneuve followed in his footsteps the next year. But the departure of Renault left Williams looks for an engine supplier once more.
A new partnership with BMW brought race wins but not championships, and since the two split at the end of 2005 Williams has struggled to escape from the midfield.
Renault returned as engine suppliers in 2012 and the team were back on the top step of the podium within five races, Pastor Maldonado winning in Spain.
View the list of Williams F1 drivers
Major team personnel
Team principal: Frank Williams
Deputy team principal: Claire Williams
CEO: Alex Burns
Technical director: Mike Coughlan
Head of aerodynamics: Jason Somerville
Chief designer: Ed Wood
Race and test team manager: Dickie Stanford
Chief race engineer: Xevi Pujolar
Race engineer (Pastor Maldonado): Andrew Murdoch
Race engineer (Valtteri Bottas): Jonathan Eddolls
Willams featured articles
- The rise and fall of Williams
- Williams: The Renault years in pictures
- Williams FW08B: The last six-wheeled F1 car
- Williams FW15C: F1′s high-tech pinnacle
Williams latest articles
- Claire Williams becomes deputy team principal
- Williams “haven’t made the progress we hoped for”
- After progress in 2012, it’s time for Williams to deliver in 2013
- Maldonado: Aero upgrade a clear improvement
- Bottas aims to stay out of trouble in debut season
- Bottas: First run in FW35 ‘put a smile on my face’
- Maldonado says FW35 is “the best car I’ve had”
- Coughlan expects Coanda exhaust gains on FW35
- Williams reorganise race engineers for 2013
- Susie Wolff to be first to drive Williams FW35
Browse all Williams articles
Image © Williams/LAT