One of the bastions of F1, Sir Frank Williams, despite ill health, continues to run his team which has collected nine constructors' titles and seven drivers' championships.
After a less than distinguished and short career as a driver, Williams set up Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966. The first F1 car was based on an old Brabham chassis and the driver was old friend, Piers Courage who entered numerous F1 events, finishing second in two of them.
Williams has had a string of business partners over the years, not all of them successful. In 1976, desperately short of cash, he joined forces with oil magnate Walter Wolf. Although he achieved the aim of keeping the team running, he had relinquished ownership. Williams left in 1977 taking Patrick Head with him, and formed one of the longest running and most successful partnerships in motorsport.
The pair acquired an old carpet warehouse in Didcot and set up Williams Grand Prix Engineering. Things started to look up for Williams, Clay Regazzoni secured the teams first win in 1979, and titles with Alan Jones in 1980 and Keke Roseberg in 1982 followed.
In March 1986 disaster struck, when returning from a test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, Williams was involved in a serious car crash. The accident severed his spinal column and left him paralysed, while his passenger, F1 journalist Peter Windsor, sustained only minor injuries. It would take more than a wheelchair to stop Williams and he was soon back in the paddock. The team won the constructors' title in 1986 and 1987 and have won the title a further five times since then.
In 1994 Ayrton Senna died at Imola at the wheel of a Williams. Not only had the team lost a great champion, but the Italian authorities had a sting in the tail for Frank, Head and Adrian Newey, and they were charged with manslaughter. It took until 2005 for the case to be closed and the trio to be cleared of any wrongdoing.
Williams celebrated his 600th race as an entrant at the Monaco Grand Prix in 2008 and his 500th grand prix as a constructor at the Italian event later that year.
Although his team's form has been dwindling for the last few years, this charismatic leader and his 30-year-old outfit refuse to give up.