Sir Frank Williams: George Russell leads tributes to F1 legend and Williams Racing founder after death at 79

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 (Getty Images)
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Tributes from the world of Formula 1 and beyond have been paid to Sir Frank Williams following his death at the age of 79.

Williams Racing confirmed the passing of their inspirational co-founder and former long-serving team principal on Sunday.

“It is with great sadness that on behalf of the Williams family, the team can confirm the death of Sir Frank Williams CBE, founder and former team principal of Williams Racing, at the age of 79,” the team said in a statement.

“After being admitted into hospital on Friday, Sir Frank passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family.

“Today we pay tribute to our much-loved and inspirational figurehead. Frank will be sorely missed. We request that all friends and colleagues respect the Williams family’s wishes for privacy at this time.”

Tributes quickly came pouring in for a hugely influential F1 figure, with current Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi among those to pay their respects.

“Today, we say goodbye to the man who defined our team. Sir Frank was such a genuinely wonderful human being and I’ll always remember the laughs we shared,” said Russell, who will join Mercedes for the 2022 season.

“He was more than a boss, he was a mentor and a friend to everybody who joined the Williams Racing family and so many others.

“It has been a genuine honour racing for him and being a small part of the incredible legacy he leaves behind, a legacy that will forever live on in the heart and soul of this team. Rest in peace, Sir Frank. Thank you for everything.”

Canadian Latifi added: “RIP Sir Frank Williams. Such sad news. A huge loss for our sport and our team. It’s been an honour to represent your name on the world stage and we will continue to push hard to take the team back up the grid.”

Formula 1 tweeted through their official account: “We are filled with the most immense and deep sadness at the passing of Sir Frank Williams. His was a life driven by passion for motorsport; his legacy is immeasurable, and will be forever part of F1.

“To know him was an inspiration and privilege. He will be deeply, deeply missed.”

F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali - ex-team principal at Ferrari - said: “This morning Claire Williams called to inform me of the very sad news that her beloved father, Sir Frank Williams, had passed away.

“He was a true giant of our sport that overcame the most difficult of challenges in life and battled every day to win on and off the track. We have lost a much loved and respected member of the F1 family and he will be hugely missed.

“His incredible achievements and personality will be etched on our sport forever. My thoughts are with all the Williams family and friends at this sad time.”

FIA president Jean Todt tweeted: “Very sad news. Sir Frank Williams leaves a lasting impression on the history of @F1. He was a pioneer, an exceptional personality & an exemplary man. On behalf of the entire @FIA Community, our thoughts are with his family, friends & @WilliamsRacing. Rest in peace, my friend.”

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