F1 world champion Alan Jones hails "true enthusiast" Frank Williams

Formula 1 world champion Alan Jones says the late Sir Frank Williams was a "true enthusiast" who simply loved motorsport.

F1 world champion Alan Jones hails "true enthusiast" Frank Williams

The recent passing of the legendary Formula 1 team owner has prompted a flood of tributes from around the motor racing world.

The latest to pay his respects to Sir Frank is Alan Jones, who took the Williams team to the first of its seven drivers' world championships, driving the FW07 in 1980.

Speaking to Autosport, Jones admitted that hearing of Sir Frank's passing had been hard to take.

"At the end of the day apart from being a boss he was a friend," said Jones.

"I like to think I was very close to the family."

According to Jones, Sir Frank's greatest attributes were determination and sheer enthusiasm for motorsport.

He says the latter was highlighted by his persistence in attending grands prix in the years that followed the car crash that left him in a wheelchair.

"He epitomised the spirit and the determination of the ultimate enthusiast," said Jones.

"At the end of the day, apart from being a team owner, he was a true enthusiast he loved motorsport. How he put up with going to as many grands prix as a quadriplegic I will never know.

"His determination and enthusiasm, it was just so amazing.

"I think his legacy will be that you can basically do anything as long as you put your mind to it."

As well as the breakthrough title Jones played a pivotal role in the early success of the Williams squad during a four-season stint from 1978 to 1981.

Alan Jones, Williams FW07B

Alan Jones, Williams FW07B

Photo by: David Phipps

Reflecting on that success, Jones says it was made more special by an underdog spirit shared by himself, Williams and famous technical guru Patrick Head.

"We had a wonderful working relationship. There was three of us Frank, Patrick and myself [and] we were all a similar age," said Jones.

Read more tributes to Sir Frank Williams:

"It was fabulous and the three of us all came up together. To win against established names was very very satisfying.

"It was the culmination of something. Frank started out racing second-hand F1 cars and scrambling up bits and pieces, so for him to win a world championship, it was the culmination of a dream.

"And for me having left Australia and gone over [to Europe] to live and gone through the lesser formulas, to win the F1 world championship was a very emotional moment."

As for working with Sir Frank, Jones says an exchange at Watkins Glen sums up what that was like.

"He was a hard taskmaster but he was 100 per cent fair and I often say that he was the best guy I ever drove for," said Jones.

"He took notice of what you said. There was one particular incident when we were at Watkins Glen and I didn’t qualify all that well.

"I said to Frank that I thought the engine I was using was down on power, so he said, ‘right we will change it. There is no point me paying you all this money to drive for me and doubting you word'.

"Sure enough we changed the engine and I was quickest in the morning warm-up.

"That was the sort of guy he was."

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen has "polished up" aggression in F1, says Ricciardo
Previous article

Verstappen has "polished up" aggression in F1, says Ricciardo

Next article

Ocon: "Just a matter of time" before Piastri lands F1 seat

Ocon: "Just a matter of time" before Piastri lands F1 seat
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023
Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons Plus

Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons

OPINION: Williams has moved to replace the departed Jost Capito by appointing former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal. But while he has sought to play down the idea of moulding his new squad into a vision of his old one, some overlap is only to be expected and perhaps shouldn't be shied away from

Formula 1
Jan 17, 2023