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#1 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 14:35

What is their legacy?  Franks was a wheeler dealer, you have to admire the way to fought his way up the ranks of motorsport, plus of course his dreadful injury.   I don't think I like him really, particularly his lack of loyalty to his winning drivers.  You got the impression that once they were a champion he would not pay the going rate.  Perhaps by switching drivers when on a winning streak he failed to win more titles?



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#2 aportinga

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 14:40

I grew up in the late 80's watching F1.

 

What I remember the most for FW is...

 

FW14 - Incredible Car

Mansell - Red 5

Prost hired which led Mansell to depart.

Senna hired which led Prost to depart.

Ricardo Patrese (my favorite #2) had some really good races at Williams.

Damon Hill first big break - with the same lid as his old man.

Mansell taking pole at OZ in 1994 and then winning.

 

Come to think of it, didn't Williams screw Damon as well by releasing him at the last minute?

 

Some real poor drivers decisions over the years.


Edited by aportinga, 03 September 2020 - 15:05.


#3 Blue6ix

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 15:23

If this really is true after all, just in 23 years and just like Tyrrell family back then in 1997 or just about before the year 1998, history will be repeating itself.

 

As for what comes to Damon Hill, he had quite same issues like Nigel Mansell back then in 1992 when comparing it to the year of 1996.

 

With those decision they (Mansell and Hill.) lost their almost sure world championships for the year of 1993 and 1997.

 

I'm not sure if Frank really had any 'very special driver' or 'Frank Williams Personal Favorite Number 1 Driver' back then, but Alan Jones was very, very close to being such a one.

 

Or actually he was, but if so, it was about the only time Frank really did show his opinion and possible very favoritism for his drivers.

 

Not even the first winner, Clay Regazzoni get that kind of treatment.

 

Even though there were of possibility to retain him for the season of 1980.

 

Then there were some 'Frank Williams Personal Favorite Middle Man Number 1 Driver' back then like Keke Rosberg, but that was literally being in the middle of favors and blowouts with their fallouts.

 

Especially when trying to be and achieving championship which he did, but it still left some doubts for the driver and the chief owner.



#4 E1pix

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 15:32

To me, the sale is another sad “development” in the continuing loss of the old school teams.

I first knew of Frank’s exploits with the ISO-Williams in, I think, 1974. It wasn’t until he hired Jones in 1978 that the promise looked very real, but perhaps the most-enduring legacy is Frank’s tenacity to keep going once he became paralyzed.

Sometimes it seems easy to us on the sidelines to presume we’d keep going, too. But we know nothing until presented with such, and if even only for that bravery Mr. Williams has earned my permanent respect.

I wish him the very best in finally having time to enjoy whatever time he has left. Thank You, Sir.

#5 Steve L

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 15:43

Is the Williams Heritage part of the deal I wonder?

#6 john winfield

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 15:45

OK, Frank and Patrick could be bloody difficult sometimes, but they were mighty impressive at their best.  Thanks, Frank, for sticking at it, and achieving so much success, and thank you to Claire for handling these last few, difficult years in such a dignified manner.



#7 sstiel

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 16:03

Williams' legacy is a great study in determination and change. Sir Frank will be remembered for turning from "w***er to winner" with the help of a critical mass of other intelligent people like Patrick Head, Frank Dernie, Neil Oatley, Charles Crichton-Stuart, Dickie Stanford, Adrian Newey etc. 

 

Now is a critical phase. Dorilton Capital must make the most of it.



#8 E1pix

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 16:43

My fear as an American is Dorilton will simply use the purchase as a flip-for-profit job.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong — and wish beyond reality that we could have a national team (drivers, crew, etc.) — but that’s not what we do anymore.

Edited by E1pix, 03 September 2020 - 18:38.


#9 john aston

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 16:56

Having read Virginia's biography and watched the film on FW I think he is a man more to be admired than liked . That doesn't make him unusual in his world. It was a privilege to have seen Regga's debut win for the team , Mansell's first GP win and to have been at Stowe in 87 . Now isn't the time to stick the boot in to his legacy - he was a tough guy dealing with the most selfish species on earth , th F1 driver. Who wouldn't wish him and his family well?



#10 DogEarred

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 18:08

The 'Formula One Team' has been sold.

 

But what does that mean in this case? (Remember Eddy Jordan sold his team but 'failed to tell the buyer' that the wind tunnel was not included...)

 

 

The Williams F1 team basically runs out of 2 buildings. The main one contains design, manufacturing & offices, with the Aero dept. occupying the original wind tunnel building.

 

When WAE was sold a year or two ago, it was entirely contained in its own building. Simple.

 

Now if you buy a failing F1 team, you do not now need TWO wind tunnels. You also do not need a museum. You also do not need a Conference Centre.

The museum is housed in the lower level of Conference Centre & has its own workshop. (It contains at least one model of every Williams car plus a few other items)

 

So. I'm intrigued as to what exactly has been bought. The substantial area of land on which all this stands is, I believe, owned by the family.

 

I heard the family received a good price so I wonder if any of these 'extras' were included?



#11 opplock

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 18:11

My fear as an American is Dorilton will simply use the purchase as a flip-for-profit job.

 

 

I struggle to see any other rationale but its difficult to see anyone making serious (by private equity standards) money from buying an F1 team. Due diligence should picked up Bobby Rinzler's (?) wonderful summary of motor racing economics which was, from memory, "There's a lot of money in motor racing. I should know I put most of it there". 

 

I have fond memories of the Brabham biplane from January 1969 but as Autosport tell me that Frank Williams only started running a team in 1977 I must have been imagining it.   



#12 E1pix

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 18:29

I’d thought Frank ran ISO-Williams, and Wolf-Williams in I believe only 1976.

Hence I would think the 1977 reference points to Frank’s first sole ownership of a team.

#13 10kDA

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 18:30

 

 

I have fond memories of the Brabham biplane from January 1969 but as Autosport tell me that Frank Williams only started running a team in 1977 I must have been imagining it.   

Even Skysports got the F1 part of that right.



#14 F1matt

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 18:48

What is their legacy?  Franks was a wheeler dealer, you have to admire the way to fought his way up the ranks of motorsport, plus of course his dreadful injury.   I don't think I like him really, particularly his lack of loyalty to his winning drivers.  You got the impression that once they were a champion he would not pay the going rate.  Perhaps by switching drivers when on a winning streak he failed to win more titles?

 

I am not sure about this, what years are you thinking about? Maybe he ensured the Williams legacy by changing the drivers on a regular basis and keeping the engineering side on their toes. Williams got left behind when they split with BMW and have never recovered, I feel sympathy for Claire Williams, she has had to carry the flak for the teams demise, I doubt she would of got as much stick if she was male. Good luck to the Williams family and hopefully the Williams name and the staff at Grove all survive. 



#15 Bloggsworth

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 19:05

Williams' legacy is a great study in determination and change. Sir Frank will be remembered for turning from "w***er to winner" with the help of a critical mass of other intelligent people like Patrick Head, Frank Dernie, Neil Oatley, Charles Crichton-Stuart, Dickie Stanford, Adrian Newey etc. 

 

Now is a critical phase. Dorilton Capital must make the most of it.

They probably will, then pull out when they've milked it for everything they can... Possibly. Yes, I'm a cynic when it comes to investment companies. Amazing how companies bought by venture capitalists never seem to make a profit.



#16 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 19:06

To me, Claire gave the impression of being more reactive than in control. I wonder if she had the team’s full support and respect.

I hope the team flourishes under its new ownership and that the family got a fair deal. They certainly deserve respect and even gratitude for persevering all these years. This is one fan who will miss them.

#17 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 19:08

Is the Williams Heritage part of the deal I wonder?


I hope it’s going to wherever it’s most likely to remain intact.

#18 opplock

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 19:08

Hence I would think the 1977 reference points to Frank’s first sole ownership of a team.

 

Now airbrushed from history Frank Williams (Racing Cars) Ltd was an F1 entrant 1969-1971, 1973-1975 (competed in 1972 as Team Williams Motul). 


Edited by opplock, 04 September 2020 - 19:08.


#19 wolf sun

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 20:54

I have nothing but the utmost respect for Sir Frank, and Sir Patrick too. How they built the team to become such a strong force, overcoming quite some adversities along the way, and then some. True fighters, both of them.

A sad sign of the times to see the team that bears Franks name bought by some nondescript investment company.

 

Also:

Stowe 1987, I listened to the radio broadcast of that race on a campsite in Croyde Bay. That was really something else.

 

FW07 was the epitome of a racing car to me when I was a kid - I tried to make my Lego models look like it.



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#20 Allen Brown

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 21:00

I have huge admiration for Sir Frank and his team, and personally I wish them all well.  



#21 opplock

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 22:09

Sorry Opplock, I clearly misread your 1977 comment. I get it now. :-)

Now that that’s cleared up, “******?” Oh, do tell.

 

Rhymes with anchor. I thought it rather unfair. An awful lot of teams achieved less than 3 second places, many of them with far more resources than the pre Wolf takeover Williams team ever had.  



#22 E1pix

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 23:36

That just isn’t right. :-/

#23 FLB

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 00:08

 

So. I'm intrigued as to what exactly has been bought. The substantial area of land on which all this stands is, I believe, owned by the family.

 

I heard the family received a good price so I wonder if any of these 'extras' were included?

I don't remember, but when did the team move from Didcot to Grove?



#24 DogEarred

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 00:49

www.williamsdb.com/moving-factory-didcot-grove

#25 E1pix

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 01:14

Surely we all know the challenges of copy-pasting with claws:
https://www.williams...y-didcot-grove/

:-)

#26 SophieB

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 07:13

I know Doug Nye posts here, so I thought he might like to see this tribute from Mark Gallagher, on twitter (if not seen already, of course)

 

 

 
 
So much about & behind today’s Williams announcement. All reaction has to start & end with Sir Frank, his legacy & achievements. Together with Patrick Head they took on & beat the world. The best description & professional epitaph is simply ‘Racers’, Doug Nye’s excellent book #F1

 

jW4UxKa.jpg



#27 GTMRacer

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 07:29

For me the last of the Garagista teams, I grew up in the 80's and 90's, Williams best period. Thanks for the excitement and the FW14, a truly beautiful race car Everything must end and change is inevitable.

#28 Stephen W

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 07:59

1. I understand the whole Williams team and the Heritage cars have been sold to the Americans.

2. I liked Frank Williams and would often see him out jogging when I went down to Silverstone and stayed with a friend in Didcot.

3. I was a big fan of the team but I couldn't understand some of the driver changes. I think the Damon Hill dismissal was planned the previous season.

4. He was a used car salesman who just happened to flip race cars.

 

Basically another of the so-called legendary teams that have slowly withered. Expect a name change in the next couple of years.  



#29 Sterzo

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 08:50

There's a thread about the takeover on Racing Comments, and it's worth reading as there's some information about Dorilton. They are an investment company, but may well not be a quick-turnround outfit. Their ownership is obscure, but probably not American (for what relevance that has). The three-man Williams board they've appointed includes James Matthews, who was UK Formula Renault champion and Eurocup Renault champion, and who raced in British F3 in the nineties.

 

It's disturbing Claire Williams has stepped down mid-season, but by all accounts that's her decision, not theirs. (Though PR-written public announcements are notoriously unreliable).

 

What is the Williams family legacy? Racing, racing and racing. Thank you to Frank, Patrick and latterly Claire for letting us watch.



#30 F1matt

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 08:51

Is the Williams Heritage part of the deal I wonder?

 

 

Sebastian Vettel has purchased an FW14 this week, not sure if it is a coincidence.....



#31 ensign14

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 09:30

I can certainly recommend the Racers book, as well as Maurice Hamilton's later work.  Anything by DCN and Maurice is well worth reading (I maintain that the best book ever written on motor racing is the former's Cooper Cars).

 

Williams never got close to drivers after getting close to Alan Jones, and then Jonesy walking away from the team at the last minute after the 1981 season, when there were no realistic alternatives.  So if he could spend £10m on a superstar or £10m on aero, he would spend it on aero.  Hence the harsh treatment to Mansell and Damon Hill.  All for the greater good.

 

(ETA: oops, thought this was RC...)


Edited by ensign14, 04 September 2020 - 09:30.


#32 SJ Lambert

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 09:59

Sebastian Vettel has purchased an FW14 this week, not sure if it is a coincidence.....


Was it procured from the Heritage Collection?

#33 Charlieman

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 10:02

Back in 1977 when WGPE bought a March 761* for Patrick Neve, I doubt whether anyone guessed what would follow. Patrick Head had previously done top class race engineering so we expected his March to be properly managed. All the same, the FW06 of 1978 was a pleasant surprise. It looked right and followed conventional principles for a kit car, designed to make best use of Goodyear tyres. Frank Williams had rounded up sponsors with enough money to do things properly, and this time the team pulled it off. I've never been a motor sport fan boy, but for years my heart supported Ensign and my head backed Williams.

 

High points? Working with Honda to convert an engine dismissed by John Barnard into a winner.

 

Quick quiz question: Which 1972 F1 team principal said "I'll never buy another March."

 

* Two chassises were supplied after WGPE determined that the first one had been refurbished and sold as new. Frank really should have been more alert to that old trick.



#34 2F-001

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 10:29

The three-man Williams board they've appointed includes James Matthews, who was UK Formula Renault champion and Eurocup Renault champion, and who raced in British F3 in the nineties.

 

Son of former saloon racer Dave, and now brother in law of the future Queen, Kate Middleton, I believe.


Edited by 2F-001, 04 September 2020 - 10:30.


#35 BRG

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 11:14

My fear as an American is Dorilton will simply use the purchase as a flip-for-profit job.

There were apparently five offers for the team and presumably Dorilton was the best (which generally means the highest price).  If so, who is going to pay Dorilton more when they 'flip' it, unless they have achieved some major improvements to the company?  And to do that will not be the work of a couple of months.  They may well sell it in due course but it has been made into a commodity by the Williams family, so place the blame there, if and when it happens.

 

Amazing how companies bought by venture capitalists never seem to make a profit.

If that was even remotely true, then all the venture capitalists would be bankrupt by now.  The whole point of that game is to take underperforming companies (like it might be Williams Grand Prix) sort them out, make them profitable and worth a lot more, and then sell them on.  And how is that a bad thing?


Edited by BRG, 04 September 2020 - 11:15.


#36 john winfield

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 12:10

 

 

(ETA: oops, thought this was RC...)

 

******



#37 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 12:40

Of course, Frank was running a team back in the late 60s, even if they weren't cars built by him.....Piers Courage died in a FW run De Tomaso :cry:

When Murray Walker was commentating..and Dickie Stanford and Patrick Head were at the track, I just waited for MW to transpose their names, willing him to say Patrick Stanford & Dick[ie] Head on air :drunk:

I believe [but have no evidence] that Claire and her brother Jonathan are estranged due, I think, him expecting to get to run the F1 team...he was put i/c of the Williams Collection instead. Anyone got any corroboration of this?

I admire Sir Frank with what he achieved over the decades.

Frank competed himself in the early 60s in an A40 [I believe]......he shared a flat with other drivers such as Piers Courage.....I bet there are quite a lot of tales to be told from that time that couldn't be published..... :drunk:


Edited by Dick Dastardly, 04 September 2020 - 12:47.


#38 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 12:50

Vettel actually acquired the Williams some time ago - it's just that he's only now acknowledged the fact publicly.  He has several outstanding cars in his personal collection...but he is a very private man, and that is to be respected.

 

Regarding the change in the company's ownership - inevitable really since certain sponsors apparently failed to perform as expected, in parallel with the deteriorating team failing to perform adequately on track...despite having a very promising driver in recent times.

 

I'm a confirmed softie, but to have witnessed Williams's past few seasons, I could weep...  Frank absolutely epitomises the term 'Racer'.  I remember one day back around 1981-82 when he showed me his company's parts store at Didcot.  "Just look at these shelves, so jam-packed with 'stuff'!", he cried, his eyes dancing with delight, "If I'd seen this lot back in the early days when I was wheeling and dealing...I'd have had a stroke on the spot!".  A Great Man.

 

As indeed was - and is - Patrick Head.  They both truly earned their Knighthoods.

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 04 September 2020 - 12:52.


#39 2F-001

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 13:55

Regarding Frank W’s reaction to the abundantly stocked spares cupboard…

 

Some of Frank Dernie’s candid anecdotes tell tales of how they had relied on the goodwill of other teams: for example, the use of someone else’s tail lift to unload the cars and equipment from their rented flat bed lorry. But the spares guy hung on to all sorts of bits and pieces that were no longer relevant to their own cars, but knew that some other teams still used them - and might need them in an emergency…

 

Ok, they might reasonably have expected a few little favours in return, but I’d like to think it shows where the team’s hearts lay; racers, but decent people. 



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#40 john aston

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 16:30

 

I believe [but have no evidence] that Claire and her brother Jonathan are estranged due, I think, him expecting to get to run the F1 team...he was put i/c of the Williams Collection instead. Anyone got any corroboration of this?

 If you watch the film about FW you will be in no doubt that neither is on the other's Christmas card list. It may be the edit, but Claire comes over far better in the film than her brother , who appeared bitter and very hard to warm towards. 



#41 10kDA

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 16:52

Didn't Alan Jones retire due to back problems aggravated by the pounding he got from the nearly suspensionless cars of the era? I doubt his leaving is what kicked off Williams' policy of spinning the revolving door re: hiring drivers. If a team has good cars capable of winning consistently, season after season, good drivers will always become available to choose from. If Sir Frank didn't want to pay defending WDC winners' salaries the following year, well, he gets to run his business any way he sees fit. And he seemed to be shrewd at the business aspect of racing, always. Their legacy is a bunch of World Championships and giving excellent chances to win races and titles to drivers who were at their peak.



#42 layabout

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 16:57

Now airbrushed from history Frank Williams (Racing Cars) Ltd was an F1 entrant 1969-1971, 1973-1975 (competed in 1972 as Team Williams Motul).

I've just read Howden Ganley's book and he confirms my longstanding belief that Sir Frank and ****** Williams are the same person.

From Howden Ganley:

"I am somewhat distressed to read (post # 18) that 'Opplock’ claims my book ‘The Road to Monaco’ somehow ‘confirms’ that Sir Frank is a 'w***** '. IT DOES NO SUCH THING. I have never thought, nor written, that Frank was anything of the sort. Here was a man who battled his way up from impoverished F3 driver to being a proper F1 team owner, running two cars and being a member of FOCA.

In the 70's he had two problems. Lack of funding (ISO's fault), and no Patrick Head, but his cars were always well turned out and at every race. My final comment in the Williams portion of the book is that I would like to do it all again BUT with the proviso Patrick Head was part of the team.

Sir Frank's achievements, and his knighthood, stand as a testament to a very intelligent, determined and successful man."


#43 Gary C

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 17:04

In regard Seb's purchase of an FW14. I heard earlier in the week that he was just waiting for the paint shop to finish painting it red so that he could use it this weekend at Monza....

#44 Michael Ferner

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 17:09

"Didn't Alan Jones retire due to back problems aggravated by the pounding he got from the nearly suspensionless cars of the era?"

 

To which FW famously responded, "maybe you can sit on your wallet?!"

 

Another great quote, this from Keke Rosberg: "PH and FW have never forgiven me for not being Alan Jones"!

 

Initially, I had my problems with the way FW and PH came over in public, but I quickly learned to respect their achievements, and finally began to love the team and the men behind it - what a bloody GREAT team of GREAT RACERS! :up:



#45 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 18:17

Michael - you are one of many who came to see the light.  Your comments are spot on.  

 

Regarding Jonathan Williams - documentary film production occasionally leans in favour of one principal's input in favour of another's.  In editing terms one principal might even be given greater influence over the finished piece than another's... 

 

John A - One can only speak as one finds. Jonathan Williams is an extremely pleasant, courteous and helpful gentleman - and one who has utterly encyclopaedic grasp and near perfect recall of what was his family's team and its individual cars. A good guy - and very widely well regarded.

 

DCN



#46 opplock

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 19:10

From Howden Ganley:

"I am somewhat distressed to read (post # 18) that 'Opplock’ claims my book ‘The Road to Monaco’ somehow ‘confirms’ that Sir Frank is a 'w***** '. IT DOES NO SUCH THING.


Very sorry to have upset Howden but I did not intend to convey the impression that he had ever described Sir Frank in such terms. Someone had used that particular terminology in a previous post (#7). As some seemed unaware of Williams pre 1977 history I was trying to highlight confirmation that the two teams had been run by the same person.

Comment deleted.

#47 E1pix

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 19:28

Thumbs up.

I’ve deleted my post asking about the comment as well.


Edit: To Mr. Ganley, I can vouch for Opplock that he certainly meant neither harm nor disrespect — that’s not him.

I also say Thanks to you for speaking out on behalf of Frank. Not enough take a moment to do so, and I find such efforts critical in discussions that could be later found — and add stress to whomever cares.

Thanks Again.

Edited by E1pix, 04 September 2020 - 19:39.


#48 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 19:53

Regarding drivers' salaries....such was the dominance of the Williams cars in 92 & 93, Senna was desperate to get into one for '94, hence he offered to drive for free, 



#49 cpbell

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 20:08

Vettel actually acquired the Williams some time ago - it's just that he's only now acknowledged the fact publicly.  He has several outstanding cars in his personal collection...but he is a very private man, and that is to be respected.

 

Regarding the change in the company's ownership - inevitable really since certain sponsors apparently failed to perform as expected, in parallel with the deteriorating team failing to perform adequately on track...despite having a very promising driver in recent times.

 

I'm a confirmed softie, but to have witnessed Williams's past few seasons, I could weep...  Frank absolutely epitomises the term 'Racer'.  I remember one day back around 1981-82 when he showed me his company's parts store at Didcot.  "Just look at these shelves, so jam-packed with 'stuff'!", he cried, his eyes dancing with delight, "If I'd seen this lot back in the early days when I was wheeling and dealing...I'd have had a stroke on the spot!".  A Great Man.

 

As indeed was - and is - Patrick Head.  They both truly earned their Knighthoods.

 

DCN

Those of us who attempt to enlighten the kids over on the RC forum have just been informed by a knowledgeable(!) poster therein that Claire was made Deputy Team Principal as Sir Frank thought that his son would usurp his position as Team Principal if promoted, so he decided to promote the apparently dim PR girl despite the fact that she wasn't the right person to take the team into the future so he could micro-manage it from afar withour resistance.  You obviously know Sir Frank, so, can I ask you whether what to me sounds utterly ridiculous makes any sense to you?  I can't personally conceive of the idea that Sir Frank would risk the success of the team he fought so hard and with such enthusiasm to develop into world-beaters just in order to hold on to power.



#50 Guido22

Guido22
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Posted 04 September 2020 - 20:23

Regarding Frank W’s reaction to the abundantly stocked spares cupboard…

 

Some of Frank Dernie’s candid anecdotes tell tales of how they had relied on the goodwill of other teams: for example, the use of someone else’s tail lift to unload the cars and equipment from their rented flat bed lorry. But the spares guy hung on to all sorts of bits and pieces that were no longer relevant to their own cars, but knew that some other teams still used them - and might need them in an emergency…

 

Ok, they might reasonably have expected a few little favours in return, but I’d like to think it shows where the team’s hearts lay; racers, but decent people. 

Yep Bernie had to bail him out on several occasions over the years.........