Having competed since 1975, Williams is one of the longest-standing teams in the Formula One World Championship. Although they have used numerous different engine partners they still have an impressive results record, including nine constructors' championships, seven drivers' championships and 113 race wins.
Although the team entered their first race in 1975, they did not officially become Williams Grand Prix Engineering until 1978, when they started to produce their own cars. Frank Williams hired Patrick Head, one of the strongest and most enduring partnerships in Formula One. Head's first car, the FW06, hit the circuit in 1978 with Alan Jones at the wheel; the team had a mixed season but still managed to score 16 points. The following season rules dictated that teams run two cars, so Jones was joined by Clay Regazzoni. It was Regazzoni who scored the team's first victory at the British Grand prix in 1979.
The following year, Jones secured the drivers' championship and led the team to their first constructors' title, which they retained in 1981.
Disaster struck in March 1986, when Frank Williams was seriously injured in a car crash. He was left paralysed and was unable to return to the race track for almost a year. Despite the absence of their team principal the team won nine grand prix and their third constructors' crown. They would have secured the drivers' title for Nigel Mansell had it not been for a tyre failure in the final round of the season. With Frank Williams back at the helm in 1987 they retain the constructors' title and the drivers' championship for Nelson Piquet.
Having lost the deal with former engine supplier Honda, Williams were unable to secure another major manufacturer for 1988. The team was forced to run naturally aspirated Judd engines when their rivals were enjoying turbo power. Piquet followed the Honda engine and left the team for Lotus, he was replaced by Riccardo Patrese. The team were able to secure a long term deal with Renault in 1989, a prolific partnership that would last until the engine supplier's departure from the sport in 1997.
After two seasons with Ferrari, Mansell returned to the team in 1991, and enjoyed his most successful season in 1992, winning the drivers' title and helping the team to their fifth constructors' accolade. Mansell shocked both his fans and the sport by leaving F1 at the end the season to compete in the IndyCar championship. The team, unfazed, went on to win both championships again in 1993, this time with Alain Prost at the wheel; but at the end of the season Prost too announced his retirement.
1994 was a year that remains etched in the hearts of F1 fans around the world, as well as in the history of the Williams team and the sport. Ayrton Senna died in an accident while leading the race at Imola, having completed just five laps. Since his death every Williams car has carried an 'S' somewhere on its livery as a mark of respect.
The subsequent legal backlash rocked the team, after Italian prosecutors charged Frank Williams, Patrick Head and designer Adrian Newey with manslaughter. The case dragged on, and the trio has to wait for 2005 for the court to finally clear them of any wrongdoing. Despite the sombre season Williams won their seventh consecutive constructors' crown.
In 1996 Williams won their eighth constructors' crown, as well as the driver's title for Damon Hill. The following year they won both championships again, this time it was Jacques Villeneuve who took the drivers' crown.
The team's form took a dip in the late 90s and despite winning a handful of races they were unable to mount a serious challenge to Ferrari. Their form returned in the second half of 2003 and they recorded four wins, but it was too late and they finished runners-up to Ferrari after a last race show-down.
A huge accident at Indianapolis left team driver Ralf Schumacher with a broken spine, keeping him out of the championship for six races; he was replaced first by Marc Gene and then Antonio Pizzonia.
At the end of the 2005 season the team lost engine supplier BMW and switched to Cosworth power, early promise quickly faded into a string of DNF's, leaving the team sixth in the standings. Although subsequent cars' performance made steps forward, Williams now found themselves at the back of the grid more often than the front.
Despite being one of just three teams to use the innovative double diffuser for 2009, the team were the only one not initially capitalise on the technology, and Kazuki Nakajima also struggled to match up to the performance of team mate Nico Rosberg. The team finished the season seventh in the constructor's championship.