OXFORDSHIRE, U.K. — Marking 40 years of racing in the FIA Formula One World Championship, Williams F1 Team has announced it will name its 2017 chassis the FW40 as the team celebrates its milestone anniversary.
The team first entered a car — the March 761 driven by Patrick Neve — on May 8, 1977 at the Spanish Grand Prix, after Frank Williams’ two previous F1 outfits (Frank Williams Racing Cars and Wolf-Williams Racing) were only marginally successful in the world championship.
Since that time, the team has started 663 Grands Prix and scored 114 victories, 128 poles and 133 fastest race laps during their tenure.
The team has run under the guise of Williams Martini Racing since 2014 due to sponsorship reasons, finishing third in the 2014 and 2015 World Constructor’s Championship. This year, drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa have combined to put the team fifth in constructor’s points with two rounds remaining.
“40 years ago Frank [Williams] and Patrick [Head] created what has become one of the most iconic teams in the history of Formula One,” deputy team principal Claire Williams said. “We are immensely proud of what we have achieved during our long and illustrious history. We have experienced the most euphoric highs — reaching the pinnacle of the sport nine times as a Constructor and creating seven Champion drivers in Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve — but we have also experienced the lows; the heartache that the sport can cause and victories that have agonizingly slipped away.”
“So much has changed in Formula One in the last 40 years but one thing remains the same, our passion for motorsport. We want to celebrate our passion, our achievements and our heritage with everyone who has made this journey possible, including our fans, partners, media colleagues and the many friends we have made over the last four decades. Racing is in our blood … it’s our DNA and has been since 1977. We are proud of that and that will never change.”
Next year will mark the first time in the history of the team that they have skipped a numerical chassis designation.
CREDIT: Williams F1 Team