F1 greats of the dark ages: Formula One-themed cars

Written by by Sébastien Stricker, CNN Fellow race drivers are often quick to acknowledge the impact that Williams has had on Formula 1. “His cars have been the toughest to drive. That’s why he’s…

F1 greats of the dark ages: Formula One-themed cars

Written by by Sébastien Stricker, CNN

Fellow race drivers are often quick to acknowledge the impact that Williams has had on Formula 1.

“His cars have been the toughest to drive. That’s why he’s so tough to get a win,” said the last, and arguably greatest, driver from his team, Nico Rosberg.

In fact, Williams’ cars have been as challenging to drive as they are functional.

His creations have used different bodywork techniques to give performance updates that other cars have taken many years to match. This strategy often sets his cars apart and gives the driver with a stable footer a noticeable advantage.

Williams has also pioneered individual cooling units, something familiar to drivers like Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in recent years.

2. ‘The unsung hero’

The Williams Formula 1 team, pictured here in 2015, has won 33 constructor’s and 12 driver’s championships. CNN

Born in Salzburg, Austria, Williams took a break from racing to study, which he put into practice as a race car driver. His name first emerged during the three-race European National Championships in 1945. He won a total of five races in six tries, alongside national champion Miklos Wlato and British national champion Allan Simonsen.

His ability at the karting level brought him to the attention of the leading racing series. In the 1950s he continued to be on the podium at karting competitions and, in 1959, won the first in-season Formula One championship.

His next title, in 1961, marked his famous streak as he won 13 races on the trot. The streak reached 22 races in 1962 and Williams would become a four-time champion.

His streak of success on the tracks came to an end in 1971, following a technical failure. However, during the ensuing years he continued to be a top driver, finishing in the top eight on every race day during the 1970s.

2a. Scott Hamilton, circa 1971. “A battle of wills,” became the headline on one of Williams’ articles.

Sebastien Bourdais, pictured here in 2008, gave the 17-year-old a run for his money. “Our race wasn’t good but I felt like I was winning when I got out of the car,” Bourdais told the BBC.

2b. “A legend has passed away,” declared a media commentator in 2013. At the end of the first practice session at the Indian Grand Prix Williams’s car had crashed, dashing hopes of a podium finish.

3. Years of cheer: the team’s only appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix.

4. Formula One: March 29, 1968, Williams #6 beats the current Formula One world champion to win the maiden Grand Prix of F1, in Mexico City.

5. “Most technical driver,” in 1975, was not in praise of Pierre Levegh or Ayrton Senna. Williams’s overriding impression was of difficulty. “A real bugbear to brake much, new brakes are a real hazard,” he wrote.

6. Williams #9 driver Ken Anderson. “Michael Moore, he has got a big heart — all four corners”

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