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On the Grid: Williams F1

The 9-time constructors' champions

Posted Aug 25, 2011 by Chris White

Williams are one of the most famous teams in motor racing

A name synonymous with top-level motor racing in Britain and the rest of the world since their formation back in the 1960s, Williams is one of the longest serving and most successful teams on the grid.

Founded by Frank Williams who made two unsuccessful entry attempts to the world championship starting in 1969, Williams made their debut in Formula One in the 1978 season at the Argentinian Grand Prix, earning themselves a reputation as one of the biggest hitters in the industry almost as quickly as their cars were doing laps of the track.

They won their first race at the British Grand Prix in 1979 with Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni taking the top step on the podium. They won their 100th race at the same Grand Prix in 1997, with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve taking the chequered flag. That achievement made them one of only three teams in the history of Formula One to have won 100 races, alongside fellow British team McLaren and Italian manufacturer Ferrari.

The team have won nine constructors’ championships over the years, the first of which came in 1980 and the most recent in 1997, and seven driver’s championships with the first coming again in 1980 through Australian Alan Jones, and the latest again in 1997 through Villeneuve, taking six doubles along the way.

The team have been keen to employ British drivers where possible, with Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and current McLaren driver Jenson Button all taking the seat inside the Williams machine at some stage of their careers, with Mansell winning the championship in 1992 and Hill taking the glory in 1996.

The team has worked with a number of engine manufacturers, including Ford, Honda, Toyota, BMW and Renault, none have been as successful as their collaboration with the French, with whom they won five of their nine constructors championships.

In the current team, which uses Cosworth engines, they have a driver line-up of Brazilian Rubens Barrichello and Colombian Pastor Maldonado. The team are currently in ninth place in the championship after a disastrous start which saw both drivers fail to finish either of the first two races, and they have finished in the top ten only twice – with Barrichello coming home ninth in Monaco and Canada, while Maldonado has a best finish of 14th in Britain and Germany.

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