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F1 would not be around today without Sir Frank Williams - Ecclestone

F1 would not be around today without Sir Frank Williams - Ecclestone

F1 would not be around today without Sir Frank Williams - Ecclestone

F1 would not be around today without Sir Frank Williams - Ecclestone
GPFans Staff

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes the sport would not be around today but for people like Sir Frank Williams.

The founder and former team principal of the Williams Racing team passed away on November 28 at the age of 79.

Ecclestone has hailed Williams as a key part of the backbone of the sport over many decades, ensuring it is now a thriving global business.

"Without those types of people, I doubt whether Formula 1 would have still been going now," said the 91-year-old Ecclestone, speaking to Reuters. "Probably Ferrari would have stopped and that would have been it.

"There’s not many of the old-timers floating around now, those that were with the teams when they started.

"You could buy an engine and a gearbox [in those days]. You didn’t need to have multi, multi-billions and have 1,000 people working for you."

Williams created an enduring legacy, earning the respect of Ecclestone following a car crash that almost claimed his life, but instead going on to build a racing team that won 16 world championships.

"Frank was a little bit special as a person, and that sort of showed in the way he kept going," added Ecclestone.

"Things were never really bad as far as Frank was concerned, he never complained about things. He got on with things the best way he could. And that’s the reason he was so successful. He was a racer through and through."

Ecclestone further recalled Williams' spirit and determination, never more so than in the wake of the accident in 1986 that left him a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair.

Discussing Williams' condition with then F1 doctor Professor Sid Watkins in a London hospital, Ecclestone remarked: "I said ‘How long’s this going to last?’

"He [Watkins] said ‘I think he’ll be here for six months looking at the ceiling’. I said ‘Is he going to survive all this?’ and he said ‘I don’t think so’.

"And Sid really knew [the science]. As usual Frank proved everyone wrong. They don’t grow them like Frank any more."

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