Williams celebrates 800 races with livery twist
By Mat Coch
Thursday 6th July, 2023 - 1:24am
Williams has revealed a celebratory livery ahead of this weekend’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix to commemorate its participation in 800 grands prix.
Founded in 1977, Williams stands as the third longest-serving team on the grid, behind Ferrari and McLaren (though one can also argue fourth behind Mercedes, which can trace its franchise lineage back to Tyrrell).
Over its more than 45 years of operation, the squad has become one of the most successful in F1 history.
It was the third team, following Ferrari and McLaren, to chalk up 100 race wins and has nine constructors’ world championships to its name.
Through the 1990s, it dominated, winning championships with Nigel Mansell (1992), Alain Prost (1993), Damon Hill (1996), and Jacques Villeneuve (1997) – the latter its last title success.
Despite a bright period during the early 2000s, it has been far more sparse for the team as far as results go since, with Pastor Maldonado’s victory in the 2014 Spanish Grand Prix its most recent.
Williams has claimed that, had it not been for the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, this weekend’s British Grand Prix would have been the team’s 800th – hence the design appearing this weekend.
That’s a tally that considers every time a car entered by Williams has qualified for a race, but not necessarily started, as there are several exceptions and inclusions to reach that figure.
Since its debut at the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix, the squad has missed just two events; it did not appear at the Monaco Grand Prix that year and was among the FOCA-aligned teams which boycotted the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix.
Williams did appear at the French, German, and Dutch Grands Prix in its debut season though did not qualify for either.
Should those events be counted, this year’s Canadian Grand Prix would have been its 800th race.
But while those aren’t counted in its tally, the double-Did Not Start at the 2005 United State Grand Prix is, as the team’s disqualification at the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix for brake irregularities (the only time both its cars have been disqualified from a race).
It’s worth noting, too, that Williams as a team raced with customer March chassis through 1977, the team debuting its own designed car, the FW06, the following season.
Further clouding matters is the fact Williams had previously competed under the Frank Williams Racing Cars from 1969 (of which Walter Wolf bought 60 percent in 1975, ousting Frank Williams from the team at the end of the following season).
During that era, the first ‘Williams’ chassis appeared; the 1974 Iso-Marlboro IR, renamed for the following season where it adopted the FW moniker that has remained in place to this day.