Bernie Ecclestone: Williams F1 Co-Founder Frank Williams Was 'The Toughest Fighter'

·2 min read
Photo credit: Claire Mackintosh - EMPICS - Getty Images
Photo credit: Claire Mackintosh - EMPICS - Getty Images

Ask former Formula chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, and he'll be the first to offer that Sir Frank Williams "loved Formula 1 more than anything."

That was the fitting tribute by Ecclestone to the retired Williams F1 team co-founder and long-time team boss, who died after a long period of ill health on Sunday.

"Frank was the toughest fighter I knew," said Ecclestone, 91, who said Formula 1 was built on the backs of legends such as the 79-year-old Briton. "He loved Formula 1 more than anything. Everything was subordinate to it.

"He was bankrupt more than once and had to endure a number of strokes of fate. Frank had to bury friends and icons who drove for him. Piers Courage, Roger Williamson, Ayrton Senna. After his own accident in 1986, he was closer to death than life for a long time and then he ruled from a wheelchair. But he fought on to the last and never let himself be put off his path. And he showed the doctors that you can work miracles if you have an iron will.

"Frank was too busy to give death an audience."

Another F1 legend, Gerhard Berger, said he dealt with many icons of the sport throughout his career and life including Enzo Ferrari and Ron Dennis.

"But it was in combination with his handicap that Frank impressed me the most," Berger told "There are many businessmen who are only tough on others, but Frank started the hardship with himself."

Meanwhile, an audibly upset Red Bull Racing official Helmut Marko, 78, said when asked about Williams' death: "If the term racer applies to anyone, it applies to Sir Frank."

Ecclestone continued to the Swiss newspaper Blick: "I hope I can leave the world in the manner that Frank did."

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