Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
WilliamsF1, formerly Williams Grand Prix Engineering, is a Formula One racing team formed and run by Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head. Due to its success, it is considered one of the sport's "Big Three" teams, along with Ferrari and McLaren.
Founding and early years
Frank Williams founded the team as it currently stands in 1977 after two unsuccessful attempts at managing Formula One teams of the same name. The team has been highly successful throughout the 1980s and 1990s and remains a member of F1's Big Three (the other two being Ferrari and McLaren).
Frank Williams had been running various operations in Formula 1 prior to creating his own team in 1977. After meeting Patrick Head, the two formed what was then called Williams Grand Prix Engineering, now BMW.WilliamsF1. The team had their first victory in their own car (then powered by Ford) in 1979 at the British Grand Prix. Their first FIA Formula 1 World Drivers Championship came in 1980 through Australian Alan Jones. Further World Championship victories came in 1982 (Keke Rosberg), 1987 (Nelson Piquet), 1992 (Nigel Mansell), 1993 (Alain Prost), 1996 (Damon Hill) and 1997 (Jacques Villeneuve). Notably, the team has won 9 FIA Formula 1 World Constructor's Championships (1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997) compared to the 7 Driver's Championships, the team being famous for placing more significance on the Constructor's Championship.
Initially the team began with the ubiquitous Ford-Cosworth DFV engine until 1984, when the team secured the support of Honda Motor Corporation, dominating the sport in 1986 and 1987. A contractual dispute with Honda (related primarily to the selection of drivers) saw the team lose the Japanese engines for 1988, but the team secured engine supply from Renault for 1989. Renault engines subsequently powered Williams drivers to another 4 FIA Formula 1 Driver's Championships and 5 FIA Formula 1 Constructor's Championships until the end of 1997.
It was during this period of dominance that the team's worst disaster also occurred. In 1994, on the weekend of the San Marino Grand Prix, the third round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, three times FIA Formula 1 Driver's Champion Ayrton Senna suffered a fatal accident during the race, in only his third race for the team. The repercussions of this fatal accident were severe for the team itself, as the Italian government tried to prosecute the team and Frank Williams through the Italian courts.
After 1997, the team were unable to maintain their dominance in Formula 1 as Renault ended their full time involvement in Formula 1, the team having to pay for engines.
Contract with BMW
In 1998, the team signed a long term agreement with BMW, with BMW supplying engines and expertise for a period of 10 years. In 1999, the team had a Williams car with a BMW engine testing at circuits, in preparation for a debut in 2000. The BMW.WilliamsF1 relationship has resulted in 10 race victories in five years, the most recent being Juan Pablo Montoya's victory at the 2004 Brazilian GP at Interlagos.
For 2005, Australian Mark Webber will drive one car, while German Nick Heidfeld will drive the other. Initially Jenson Button was to have driven for Williams, but a court ruling forced Jenson Button to remain with his current team BAR. Nick Heidfeld competed with Brazillian test driver Antonio Pizzonia for the remaining racing seat during December 2004 and January 2005.
Williams give Heidfeld his chance. BBC Sport (31. January, 2005).
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details