Wife of Sir Frank Williams dies after battle with cancer

Lady Virginia Williams, the wife of Sir Frank Williams, has died aged 66 after a two year battle with cancer.

A statement by the Williams F1 team reads, “It is with great sadness that we report the death of Lady Virginia Williams, wife of Williams founder and team principal Sir Frank Williams.

“Lady Virginia, or Ginny’ as she was better known, died peacefully at the family home. Ginny had been bravely battling cancer for the past two and a half years.

“It goes without saying that Virginia Williams played an enormous role in getting Sir Frank through the aftermath of his road car accident and she had been a rock in his life ever since.

“Ginny will always be an integral part of Williams’ history and success, and today we pay tribute to a much loved member of the Williams family who will be sorely missed.

“Please respect the family’s wishes for privacy at this time.”

Senna: Frank Williams is happy with my progress

Bruno Senna was feeling confident about the future after Sunday’s Hungarian grand prix.

Surrounded by burgeoning paddock rumours the Williams shareholder Toto Wolff-managed Valtteri Bottas will surely get a race seat in 2013, Brazilian Senna has struggled during his first half-season with the British team. But in Hungary, Senna made the ‘Q3’ segment for the first time in 2012, going on to outrace Barcelona winner Pastor Maldonado to seventh at the finish.

“The team was very happy with my race,” he is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper. “Frank Williams came to tell me that he is happy with my progress.”

The newspaper said Senna will begin the August break by visiting his family in Brazil, before returning to his home in Monaco.


Williams back in charge after Parr exit

Sir Frank Williams has revealed he is back at the helm at his famous British F1 team.

Although still the major shareholder and team principal, the now 70-year-old had taken a step back at the Oxfordshire based team, including stepping down from the board. He had expressed great faith in the abilities of Adam Parr, but Williams’ chairman surprised the F1 world by resigning early this season. Williams told F1’s official website on Wednesday that he is now back in charge.

“Well, I have to say that it is sad Adam Parr didn’t achieve what we would have liked together, after all that he did,” the team’s founder and long-time chief said. “So when he left it was left to me to step back into that position,” added Williams, who had handed over the chairmanship to Parr in 2010.

The team suffered arguably its lowest low last year, but Williams has been back in the winner’s circle in 2012, Pastor Maldonado winning from pole in Spain.

“Adam Parr – to his credit – played a significant role in his all too short time with the team,” Frank Williams continued. “I am very sad that he left as he is a terribly clever man who took on two or three key people, like Mike Coughlan for instance, and some key people in engineering, and that makes all the difference. We do see that,” he said.


Williams: Maldonado a future champ

Last Sunday proved that Pastor Maldonado is no mere ‘pay driver’.

“If he was a fool, he would not be with us, no matter how much money he brings,” Sir Frank Williams is quoted by Brazil’s Globo Esporte.

Venezuelan Maldonado, whose links to the state owned oil company PDVSA and president Hugo Chavez controversially deliver many millions to Williams’ Oxfordshire based team, became F1’s fifth different winner of 2012 last weekend in Spain. It has helped him to shake off the ‘pay driver’ insult, Williams insisting he is now a potential world champion instead.

“Without a doubt. He is very fast and makes no mistakes,” the newly 70-year-old Briton said.

Williams does, however, acknowledge that Maldonado’s money was a key factor in the decision to sign him.

“Yes, it was to some extent,” he said. “I don’t deny that. But he’s also a real driver. He fully deserves to be on the team, with or without money. The truth is that if you don’t have money, you don’t get to be in formula one,” added Williams.

Team shareholder Toto Wolff agrees: “If you want to race in GP2, you need a few million pounds. So, the drivers need not only to be fast and talented, but able to attract the sponsors.

“So let’s forget this thing about ‘pay drivers’,” he insisted.

Triple world champion Nelson Piquet, however, has some lingering doubts. He ran Maldonado in his own GP2 team some years ago, and this week recalled a driver who was often “too aggressive” and made too many mistakes.

“We’re not talking about a guy who shone in his youth, like Nico Rosberg,” said the famous Brazilian, “or someone like Lewis Hamilton, who always had everything he needed thanks to Ron Dennis. In GP2, when you don’t stand out in your second year, you begin to be doubted. In Maldonado’s case, he only shone in his fourth year.

“Perhaps because of this he only made it to formula one as a paying driver, without having anything special, apparently. He was perceived as just a good pilot, but clearly no Alonso. Now he was at the right place at the right time but he still managed to beat Alonso in Spain as well as another world champion, Kimi (Raikkonen). So hats off to him.”


Williams has doubts about Donington

Frank WilliamsTeam owner and apt businessman Frank Williams has joined the growing number of people with doubts about hosting the British Grand Prix at Donington Park in 2010.

F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA made the shock announcement last week that Donington had secured a ten year contract to host the grand prix after negotiations with Silverstone collapsed.

The contract is contingent on the circuit organisers making significant improvements to the track’s facilities and a five-year £100 million development programme has been put on the table.

However, with planning permission yet to be approved, many have cast doubt over whether the development will be finished within two years given the scale of the project and the intricacies of the English planning system.

Team owner Frank Williams is one of the latest figures to express his scepticism and says he will believe it when he sees it.

“When I’m at Donington in 2010, if I’m really there I’ll believe it, but I’m not certain,” he told his team’s official podcast. “I’m sure they can do all the things they must to get the circuit ready in time – two years is a lot of time with which to achieve it – but it will be immensely expensive.”

“I don’t know much about Silverstone’s affairs but I would guess it is a much more expensive project than the one Silverstone are required to do, if they wish to retain the grand prix. I will just find out in course where we are supposed to be.”

Sir Stirling Moss is another leading racing figure to question the move to Donington.

When asked by BBC Five Live if he thought the track would be ready in time Moss added: “In one word, no I don’t, actually. It’s a worry.”

“Silverstone we’ve had taken away from us which is a great shame but then the track is in such a good condition, the drivers love it and so on and there are so many other races and motorbikes, I’m not really worried for its future because it is so good.”

Many have likened the situation to Brands Hatch a decade ago. The Kent track was forced to pull out of a deal with Bernie Ecclestone to host the British Grand Prix after it failed to obtain the planning permission it needed.