The founder of the Williams Formula 1 team, Frank Williams recently turned 70. His team recently endured some pretty tough times, but the 2012 season - marked by the return of Renault power - has proved altogether different.
Frank Williams created Williams Grand Prix Engineering and entered the first FW-badged car in 1975. Thimgs were very different back then, especially the amount of money needed to contest a full season.
“In the old days the price of running in F1 was probably one tenth or at most 15 percent of what it is now. It is very expensive to be in F1,” said Williams in an interview posted on Formula1.com.
“The manufacturers have taken over - correct? So if you wish to participate you have to find the money. A little bit of this and a little bit of that - money that is honest. You have to make a budget that gives you the chance to truly compete and not just participate. And it might happen that you take on a driver who brings along some money. There is no shame in that whatsoever,” he added.
Williams also paid tribute to Adam Parr who has worked at rebuilding the team. “Adam Parr - to his credit - played a significant role in his all too short time with the team. 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,” Frank Williams said.
Williams does not agree that some sort of Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) whould be reintroduced in F1.
“There are 12 teams and each operates in different circumstances. We have several manufacturer teams. One of them is Ferrari, who seem to have a great deal of money and who are in effect subsidized. But that is fine - they are Ferrari. They are the core of F1 and that is how it should be. That is fine with me,” he said.
“However, I am against any kind of interference. I don’t want any third-party interference with one’s business, to have people sneaking around wanting to check this and that. It’s just like waiting for the taxman every day. Williams is not pleading for more restrictions. But I have said many times that we have to control driver costs,” Williams explained.
Frank Williams launched another another attack on Ferrari and its immense financial resources... “F1 is very expensive. To keep a team running is always a struggle - finding sponsors, finding funds - for almost every team except probably Ferrari, but they have Marlboro in something that is called subliminal advertising in marketing terms. And even if the FIA say you can’t do it, they can’t prove it. (smiles),” he declared.
But Frank Williams says he's a real racer in heart, and he's ready to fight for the good of his team.
“I love speed, I love noise, I love competition and if I wasn’t still a fan I wouldn’t be here,” he added.