Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited, currently racing in Formula One as Williams Racing, is a British Formula One motor racing team and constructor. It was founded by former team owner Sir Frank Williams and automotive engineer Sir Patrick Head. The team was formed in 1977 after Frank Williams's two earlier unsuccessful F1 operations: Frank Williams Racing Cars (1969 to 1975) and Wolf–Williams Racing (1976). All of Williams F1 chassis are called "FW" then a number, the FW being the initials of team co-founder and original owner, Frank Williams.
The team's first race was the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix, where the new team ran a March chassis for Patrick Nève. Williams started manufacturing its own cars the following year, and Switzerland's Clay Regazzoni won Williams's first race at the 1979 British Grand Prix. At the 1997 British Grand Prix, Canadian Jacques Villeneuve scored the team's 100th race victory, making Williams one of only four teams in Formula One, alongside Ferrari, fellow British team McLaren, and Mercedes to win 100 races.
Williams won nine Constructors' Championships between 1980 and 1997. This stood as a record until Ferrari surpassed it in 2000.
Drivers for Williams have included Australia's Alan Jones; Finland's Keke Rosberg; Britain's Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, David Coulthard and Jenson Button; France's Alain Prost; Brazil's Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna; and Canada's Jacques Villeneuve. Each of these drivers, with the exception of Senna, Coulthard and Button, have won one Drivers' title with the team. Of those who have won the championship with Williams, only Jones, Rosberg and Villeneuve actually defended their title while still with the team. Piquet moved to Lotus after winning the 1987 championship, Mansell moved to the American-based Indy Cars after winning the 1992 championship, Prost retired from racing after his 4th World Championship in 1993, while Hill moved to Arrows after winning in 1996. No driver who has won a drivers' title with Williams has managed to win a title again.
Williams have worked with many engine manufacturers, most successfully with Renault, winning five of their nine Constructors' titles with the French company.
Along with Ferrari, McLaren, Benetton and Renault, Williams is one of a group of five teams that won every Constructors' Championship between 1979 and 2008 and every Drivers' Championship from 1984 to 2008.
Williams F1 also has business interests beyond Formula One racing. Based in Grove, Oxfordshire, UK, Williams has established Williams Advanced Engineering and Williams Hybrid Power which take technology originally developed for Formula One and adapt it for commercial applications. In April 2014, Williams Hybrid Power were sold to GKN. Williams Advanced Engineering had a technology centre in Qatar until it was closed in 2014.
In May 2020, Williams announced they were seeking buyers for a portion of the team due to poor financial performance in 2019 and that they had terminated the contract of title sponsor ROKiT. On 21 August 2020, Williams was acquired by Dorilton Capital.
Claire Williams and Sir Frank Williams stepped down from their management roles on 6 September 2020, with the 2020 Italian Grand Prix being their last time in their respective positions.
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