Courage had been driving a De Tomaso F1 car, built by the Italian constructor at great expense. Besides losing one of his best friends Williams now found himself facing a huge debt which would take several years to pay off. Yet he persevered and stayed in F1, at first with paying drivers using customer versions of March cars, and then in 1972 with what was the first Williams-built F1 car. It was called a 'Politoys', in deference to the Italian model car maker which provided some sponsorship. But the money didn't go far enough and in the following seasons the Williams debt mounted progressively with a succession of uncompetitive cars driven by untalented rent-a-drivers. Frank Williams Racing Cars Limited was ridiculed in the paddock (there were rumours that the team only had one engine for two chassis) and the owner was branded a loser.
Such high motivation has certainly paid off in the record books. Since 1979, when Clay Regazzoni won the British GP in a Williams FW07 (FW is for Frank Williams)and up to the end of 2014, his cars have won 114 F1 races.(Only Ferrari and McLaren have won more). Beginning with the 1980 World Championhip, won by Alan Jones in an FW08, Williams drivers have won the World Championship seven times. Even more important to Frank Williams is the fact that his team has been the best in the world nine times, a Constructors' Championship record second only to Ferrari, which has a 27-year head start on Williams. What, then, is the real secret of his success?
"I certainly never studied management techniques. In fact, I learned on the job, as did many of those in the company. We have as small a vertical a structure as possible so as to have extremely good communication between management and personnel.
His daughter Claire Williams is now deputy team principle, and Patrick Head is less hands on than in the past, but the heart and soul of the team is still Frank Williams.