William Racing is a Formula One team that was founded by Frank Williams and engineer Patrick Head in 1977. The first car built by the team was the FW06, and the team built from there. The following year, Williams won the Constructor's Championship, before switching to Honda turbo engines to compete with drivers Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell, winning the Constructor's Championship and a Drivers' Championship with Piquet in 1987, after missing it with Mansell in the previous year. All vehicles manufactured by Williams Racing take the FW moniker for founder Frank Williams.
Through the 1990s, Williams developed dominant cars, with capable drivers—including Alain Prost, who won his fourth Drivers' Championship title with the team and earned another Constructors' Championship. After Prost's retirement, Ayrton Senna joined in 1994, which ended in tragedy when Senna was killed on the track in the third race of the season. Damon Hill led the team to a title in 1996, before Jacques Villeneuve followed with another championship the following year. Since the 1990s, Williams struggled, with engine supplier Renault leaving and a partnership with BMW bringing race wins, but not championships. In 2013, Williams became a Mercedes engine customer, but their decline continued until the team came into a crisis in 2018, coming in last in the Constructors' Championship.
Other drivers for Williams have included
- Alan Jones
- Keke Rosberg
- David Coulthard
- Jenson Button
- Juan Pablo Montoya
- Ricardo Patrese
In 2020, Williams was purchased by new owner Dorilton Capital, announcing at the same time the end of the team as a family business, with no surviving member of the Williams family in a significant role with the team. The team had previously been regarded as the final independent, family-run team in Formula 1. Jost Capito has been named the CEO of the new team and has been working to modernize Williams's facilities and machinery and increase the team's capabilities to move up the rankings and return the team to contention.
In 2022, Williams will bring the team's FW44 car, driven by its lineup of Nicholas Latifi and Alexander Albon. In 2021, the team was able to achieve a first place finish with departed driver George Russel. Although this place was achieved in part due to weather, the team spent their 2021 season developing the FW44 for the new regulations, with the expectation that the development time will give the outfit a competitive package.
The design of the FW44 is different that its competitors, first in its use of side pods that ramp downward dramatically to draw air down and increase overall downforce. The car also uses a sloped radiator cutout to create a channel for airflow, to direct the air to block wash from the front tires, away from the chassis, and reduce the possibility of disrupting the overall aerodynamic package. Some of the new 2022 regulations, specifically the 18-inch wheels, have concerned the drivers, as the higher front wheels reduce a driver's visibility.
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