Tributes from the world of Formula 1 and beyond have been paid to Sir Frank Williams after his death at the age of 79.
“It is with great sadness that on behalf of the Williams family, the team can confirm the passing of Sir Frank Williams CBE, founder and former team manager of Williams Racing, at the age of 79,” the team said in a statement.
“After being admitted to hospital on Friday, Sir Frank passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family.
“Today we pay tribute to our beloved and inspiring figurehead. Frank will be sorely missed. We ask all friends and colleagues to respect the Williams family’s wishes for privacy at this time. “
Tributes quickly poured in for a hugely influential F1 figure, with current Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi among those paying tribute to him.
“Today we say goodbye to the man who defined our team. Sir Frank was a truly wonderful human being and I will always remember the laughs we shared, ”said Russell, who will join Mercedes for the 2022 season.
“He was more than a boss, he was a mentor and a friend to everyone who joined the Williams Racing family and so many others.
“It has been a real honor to run for him and to be a small part of the incredible legacy he leaves behind, a legacy that will live forever in the hearts and souls of this team. Rest in peace. , Mr. Frank. Thank you for everything. “
Canadian Latifi added: “RIP Sir Frank Williams. Such sad news. A huge loss for our sport and our team. It has been an honor to represent your name on the world stage and we will continue to push hard to bring the team back to the grid.
Formula 1 tweeted via its official account: “We are filled with the most immense and deep sorrow over the passing of Sir Frank Williams. His life was animated by the passion for motorsport; his legacy is immeasurable and will always be part of F1.
“Knowing him was an inspiration and a privilege. He will be missed deeply, deeply.
F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali – former team manager at Ferrari – said: “This morning Claire Williams called me to inform me of the very sad news of the death of her well- beloved, Sir Frank Williams.
“He was a true giant of our sport who overcame life’s toughest challenges and fought every day to win on and off the track. We have lost a much loved and respected family member. F1 and he will be sorely missed.
“His incredible accomplishments and personality will be forever etched in our sport. My thoughts are with all of the Williams family and friends at this sad time. “
FIA President Jean Todt tweeted: “Very sad news. Sir Frank Williams leaves a lasting impression on @ F1 history. He was a pioneer, exceptional personality & exemplary man. On behalf of all the @FIA community, our hearts go out to his family, friends and @WilliamsRacing. Rest in peace my friend. “