WilliamsF1, the trading name of Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd., is a Formula One (F1) motor racing team and constructor. It was founded and run by Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head. The team was formed in 1977 after two earlier and, compared with WilliamsF1's achievements, unsuccessful F1 operations, Frank Williams Racing Cars and Walter Wolf Racing. All of WilliamsF1 chassis are called "FW" then a number, the FW being the initials of team owner, Frank Williams.
Williams' first race was the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix, and Switzerland's Clay Regazzoni won Williams' first race at the 1979 British Grand Prix. At the 1997 British Grand Prix, Canadian Jacques Villeneuve won the team's 100th race, making Williams one of only three teams in Formula One, alongside Ferrari and fellow British team McLaren, to win 100 races. Williams won nine Constructor's titles between 1980 and 1997. This stood as a record until Ferrari surpassed it in 2000.
Many famous racing drivers have driven for Williams, including Finland's Keke Rosberg; Britain's Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill; France's Alain Prost and Brazil's Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna, and Canada's Jacques Villeneuve, each of whom, with the exception of Senna, have captured one Drivers' title with the team. After Senna died in a Williams car in a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Frank Williams, Patrick Head and designer Adrian Newey were all accused of manslaughter. The trial finally closed in 2005, when Williams, Head and Newey were all cleared of any wrongdoing.
Williams have worked with many notable engine manufacturers, most successfully with Renault: Williams won five of their nine constructors' titles with the French company. Along with Ferrari, McLaren, and Renault (formerly Benetton), Williams is one of the "Big Four" teams that have won every constructors' championship since 1979 and every driver's championship since 1984. Williams remains the only one independently owned, as the other three are "factory teams" either setup or bought out by major auto manufacturers.
For the 2008 season, Williams have confirmed Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima as their race drivers. Rosberg was confirmed as staying with Williams until the end of 2009 on December 9, 2007, ending speculation that he could take Fernando Alonso's vacated seat at McLaren. During the Winter testing sessions, the team ran six different liveries to celebrate their thirtieth year in the sport and their 500th Grand Prix.
Overall, Williams had enjoyed a good start to the 2008 the season, with Rosberg winning second place at the season opening Melbourne grand prix since his debut in 2006 and Kazuki Nakajima in 6th. Frank Williams had admitted that he had regretted parting with BMW but stated that Toyota has tremendous ability to become a top engine supplier. Speculations had been surrounding Toyota's future at the formula 1 grid. This was due to the fact that for a big budget team, Toyota had only managed 2nd place as the best result.