London, Nov 28 (IANS): The founder and the longest-serving Team Principal of the Williams F1 team, Sir Frank Williams has died, aged 79, in London on Sunday. A statement from the team said that Frank Williams was admitted to the hospital on Friday and passed away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by his family.
Following the news of Sir Frank's death, a statement from Williams said, "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."
"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. For those wishing to pay tribute, we ask that donations are made in place of gifts to the Spinal Injuries Association, alternatively, we would welcome flowers to be placed at the entrance of the team's headquarters in Grove, Oxfordshire," said the statement.
Williams' CEO and Team Principal Jost Capito has paid tribute to Williams.
"The Williams Racing team is truly saddened by the passing of our founder Sir Frank Williams," Capito stated.
"Sir Frank was a legend and icon of our sport. His passing marks the end of an era for our team and for the sport of Formula 1. He was one of a kind and a true pioneer," Capito said.
"Despite considerable adversity in his life, he led our team to 16 World Championships, making us one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport. His values including integrity, teamwork, and fierce independence and determination, remain the core ethos of our team and are his legacy, as is the Williams family name under which we proudly race. Our thoughts are with the Williams family at this difficult time," he said.
F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali remembered his contribution to the sport and paid tribute to him.
"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," Domenicali said.
The Briton and his family, including daughter Claire who had run the team on a day-to-day basis since 2013, left F1 earlier this year after they sold the team to investment firm Dorilton Capital.