F1 legends pay tribute to Sir Frank Williams

Legends of the sport including four Formula 1 world champions gathered in London on Monday to pay tribute to Sir Frank Williams, who died in November.

F1 legends pay tribute to Sir Frank Williams

The Memorial Mass of Thanksgiving at Westminster Cathedral was timed for the day after the British GP in order allow as many F1 regulars as possible to be present.

Over 600 people attended the service, with many past Williams F1 drivers among the well-known names in attendance, including Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Jenson Button, Valtteri Bottas, Nick Heidfeld, Martin Brundle, Antonio Pizzonia and Jonathan Palmer. Other notable drivers present included Mika Hakkinen.

The F1 organisation was represented by Stefano Domenicali and Ross Brawn, the latter having started his career in the sport with the Wolf-Williams team in 1976.

Obituary: Sir Frank Williams

Current and past team bosses present included Ron Dennis, Eddie Jordan, David Richards, Christian Horner, Andreas Seidl, Otmar Szafnauer and Jost Capito.

There were also dozens of current and former Williams team members in the congregation from all areas of the organisation, led by Sir Patrick Head and Adrian Newey.

Sir Frank Williams memorial service

Sir Frank Williams memorial service

Photo by: Adam Cooper

Head read a eulogy, noting at the start that “Frank would have hated a eulogy” and insisting that he had instead written an appreciation.

He recalled that he had left motor racing in order to build a boat when Williams got in touch with him in 1976. He drove a £40 Renault 4 to their first meeting at a London hotel, where he was offered a job that he subsequently accepted, and which led to a partnership that spanned four decades.

Head recalled that Williams “was like Tigger for those who have read Winnie the Pooh – full of energy but not always well-directed,” adding that, “his energy was infectious and enthused the whole team.”

Head concluded by saying “wherever your spirit is I hope you still hear the sound of racing engines at the limit.”

Frank’s brother-in-law Jamie Berry also read a eulogy on behalf of the Williams family, stressing how important his late sister Ginny was both in helping to build the team and in the aftermath of the 1986 road accident that left Frank paralysed.

Sir Frank Williams memorial service

Sir Frank Williams memorial service

Photo by: Adam Cooper

Ron Dennis gave a reading, while journalist and former Williams team member Peter Windsor read To Autumn by John Keats, one of Frank’s favourite poems.

Following the service guests gathered at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, where Clay Regazzoni’s FW07, which scored the team’s first F1 win at Silverstone in 1979, took pride of place.

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