Williams (2017) Movie Script

Do you still get
the same buzz out of it Frank?
Truth is I love it,
the Formula 1 stuff, the real stuff,
the speed they're going
through the corners,
it's super men so I really believe
these guys meta morph
when they get into the cockpit you know.
They're immensely quick,
and the grip round the corners
is just astonishing.
If you're a pilot flying a jet,
that's wonderful work isn't it? Why?
Because I'm flying supersonic,
twice supersonic.
It blows my mind, the speeds
at which they can control these cars.
What was it, Top Gun,
what did Mav say to Goose?
He said I feel the need,
the need for speed",
I've never forgotten that.
- And you've always had that?
- Sorry?
You've always had that?
Well I've always been
a little boy for a start,
always enjoyed speed too.
That's why I finished up in a chair,
going too fast.
We didn't sit round
the table as a family
and discuss it and go
this is how we're gonna deal with it
or you know
mum needs some counselling,
the kids need counselling,
dad needs counselling to get through it.
We've never talked about it
as a family, dad's accident, ever.
If it wasn't for Mum
I personally don't think.
Williams would necessarily be around.
I'm a really firm believer in Williams
is not just always about Dad,
it's as much about Mum,
she stood by him through thick and thin,
I mean she saved his life.
Williams is unique now
in that it is
the last of the old style teams
where the team owners
all had their name over the door
and Williams is the only one left.
Frank's very rare
at interviews nowadays
so he doesn't seem as
approachable or accessible
from a, from a fan on the street.
Whether we see enough
of him nowadays
and whether
that's because of his health...
We didn't see him this weekend,
we saw Claire Williams
knocking about on Friday.
She's a great face on the TV as well,
where, you know being interviewed
and the like,
it's interesting to have
a lady as Principal as well.
I think I may have
had like the odd grand dream
but I never thought I would be given
the keys to the shop ever, ever, ever.
I think a bit of it's because
I'm a girl and you know
I can't possibly understand
anything about a car
and you know it's Dad's train set
and he doesn't wanna
hand it over to anybody else.
The Marussia of Will Stevens
gets out the way of Valtteri Bottas
and Max Verstappen
but Verstappen's all over
the back of that Williams.
What about Williams?
Where do you reckon
Williams will place today?
Uh... might get a point.
One of the top ten maybe.
Do you think they're
contenders anymore?
No, no.
Definitely not this year. No chance.
But Jacques,
you were the last driver
to win a World Championship
for Williams.
Yeah that's true, that's true.
- How long ago was that?
- Uh... '97 so 20 years ago.
- Yes.
- Long time.
Too long really, yeah.
In comes Bottas,
goes for another set,
he's just given up,
there's nothing they can do really
and I'm afraid that Williams
are gonna come away
from Monaco with nothing.
It's really frustrating,
it literally is banging your head against
a brick wall, what do we have to do?
You know I have to walk around
with my head held high
and I want to be able to do that um
and I don't feel that I can at the moment.
Do you think Frank feels it
as acutely as you do now?
I'm sure he does,
he's trusted in me
and I don't want him to ever doubt
that trust that he's put in me.
Do you ever doubt it
yourself or...
Um not right now no,
I've got a lot of fight in me left.
Claire is a tough piece of work,
whatever she sets out to do
she always achieves it,
she's a bit like her mother,
her mother was like that,
didn't make a lot of fuss,
just did things.
I love this time of the year
with the Autumn coming.
These are my mum's blossom trees
that we planted.
They look a bit dead now.
These were the ones that we
planted on her,
the anniversary, two year anniversary
of her passing.
I wanted something here
that I could come to and chat to.
- And do you do that?
- Yeah I do, a lot.
I come and ask her why
we can't fix our um,
the wheel nuts on our pit stops
and pray to her that
she might help the guys in R&D
that have been working
so hard on them.
I've got a whole box of
press clippings in there
from when I was made
Deputy Team Principal.
I thought I would frame them
and put them up
and be all proud of myself, but now
they've just ended up in the shed.
This is a lovely picture
from when we won
the race in Barcelona with Pastor.
Was this the last time
you won a race?
Last time we won a race,
Barcelona 2012.
So there's another picture of dad,
someone sent that to me,
it's amazing, him lifting two wheel nuts,
how buff was my dad? It's amazing.
It's was phenomenal how fit he
was before his accident.
Oh this is an awful article that came out
when mum did an extract from her book.
After the accident,
I think Ginny was
on the edge of a nervous breakdown
and she found communication,
on an emotional level,
very difficult with Frank,
Frank didn't do emotion
and she perhaps felt that
a book might be one way of
getting the story across to him.
"I'm not usually given
to making New Year's resolutions"
but at the end of 1988 I decided that
I would spend the following year
setting down everything
that has happened to Frank and me
"in the last two decades."
These are the little micro tapes that,
they took about 6 hours of conversation.
That goes in... there.
How long is it
since you listened to these?
Probably not since
I first transcribed them, which, so it is,
it's 25 years ago and
I mean she sounds so alive today,
25 years later
I can relieve that conversation.
I feel very sad that
she's not here anymore.
- Hello Pamela.
- Hello...
- How are you?
- No need to ask who you are.
I feel I should hug you
or kiss you or something.
- Oh!
- I feel I know you so well already.
- Well looking at you...
- I feel I know you so, really yes.
Is it a bit weird.
- It is weird yes.
- Really? Do I look like mum?
You do.
It was so weird
because I didn't,
she obviously didn't tell
anyone in the family,
but there was all this kind
of quite suspicious behaviour going on,
kind of sneaking out or you know
I find the Dictaphone in her glove box.
I was convinced she was having
an affair and confronted her with it
and she still didn't tell me that
that's what she was doing.
She actually met Frank
about three months
before she was due to get married
and that her fianc
introduced her to Frank
and there was an instant sort of
electric connection
between her and Frank,
she was only, I think 20,
she was very young
and she thought, What can I do?
"The flowers are ordered,
the wedding oh..."
Well she was blonde, blue eyes,
beautiful thick head of hair,
beautiful manners, beautiful clothes,
came from quite a wealthy background.
She had
this lovely way of speaking.
Great sense of humour.
And she loved motor racing,
she understood motor racing.
She had a very good feel
for racing drivers.
Frank probably thought
you're not gonna believe it,
she went to a finishing
school in Switzerland,
they've got Labradors
in the garden, I've cracked it.
I suspect that's what he told his mates.
I mean she was just
a fantastic girl to talk to,
it was like talking to a fella,
but you know with, wearing Chanel No. 5
it was just brilliant.
But in those days,
to back out of a marriage
or a looming wedding was
almost impossible to do,
you know invitations had
gone out and stuff like that
and it would've been very tough
for her to, to pull the plug on it.
Anyway she went through with
the wedding
but this attraction didn't go away.
It was the charm,
it was the Frank William's charm I think,
that smile and the big green eyes
and mum just went loony.
You know,
I remember going to cross a road
and she's sitting in a Mini car,
I said, What you doing here?
"She said
Brode, don't say anything to anybody"
and she had a flask and sandwiches and
she'd been sitting there from nine o'clock
hoping Frank would go across the road
and buy a paper at the newsagents
and she could get out and say.
"Oh Frank,
fancy bumping into you here"
and she didn't do it once,
she did it all week.
It was a real magical
world, the world Frank started racing,
it was this, you know, boys club
and I think Frank,
he loved being a part of it,
and maybe because
he hadn't been a part of a,
a gang, a group
when he was you know in his childhood.
My father left, he was
a bomber pilot, left my mother.
My mother brought me up.
She did bring me up
pretty much single-handedly.
They lived in
Jarrow in South Shields,
that was a difficult environment,
difficult to make your way out of
and my grandma made the choice,
she would sacrifice
the normal home environment
in order to try and give dad
a better chance in life
by giving him this education.
My first memories
were being sent to
a Roman Catholic convent,
I was about, just coming up for five
and I used to run away at
the railway station
and they used to ring up
and say he's here again,
please stop this happening again,
whenever I got back, the school
they took my little trousers down
and hit me with a, a coat hanger.
I didn't mind,
I was quite happy at the school.
- You were happy at school?
- I was happy at the school, yes.
So, and why did
you run away then?
Uh... because
I wasn't that happy.
No, but it was, I also loved trains,
I love trains and movement,
I was always trying
to get a ride in a car,
you know when someone's dad
turned up with a car,
I was all over the car
and sometimes they gave me
a ride up and down the road in it.
I was, I was nuts about cars by then.
I did qualify for uni
but I had no interest,
because I was uh... in a convent for
three years, one year at a day school,
then another nine years
locked up as well,
I was kind of keen on freedom.
I'd bought for 80 a racing A35,
it was a hot little ship I can tell you,
very quick car
and that's how I got into
motor racing proper.
He was totally
obsessed by motor racing.
I mean, to a degree
that was ridiculous. Ridiculous.
Nothing else mattered.
I don't think he's ever been
in a supermarket in his life.
Frank, when he first went there,
there wasn't any room for him
so he slept in the lock ups
down the side there in a sleeping bag.
Everybody had a nickname.
Roger Bunting was Bunt,
Charles Lucas was Charlie Luke,
Piers Courage was called Porridge,
and Franks was called Wanks.
Ah is Wanks around?
No he'll be in later.
Oh okay.
They were all
aristocratic, wealthy guys
who wanted to go motor racing
and Frank was mixing with them.
And he wasn't either
aristocratic or wealthy.
Well, all the other guys
that live in that flat
had hereditary incomes.
Frank didn't, nor did I,
so Frank had to earn some money.
So the way he earned money
was to buy and sell parts.
And every waking moment
he was chasing around the country
buying stuff for a pound
and selling it for 2 pound.
He called himself Frank Williams
Racing Cars in the end.
The motivation behind the organisers
wanting certain drivers was
that in France they had to have Matre,
they had to have Beltoise
and Servoz-Gavin starting.
Italy had to have a Ferrari on the grid.
And I guess England
particularly wanted to be RM.
He seemed to me to be
the ultimate wheeler dealer.
And then he expanded
and expanded and pretty soon
he was selling a lot of cars
to European drivers particularly in Italy.
So Frank would get
a phone call from an Italian customer.
Hey Franks,
what are you gonna give me
"for my car I need a new Brabham?"
I'll give you X for it."
Okay, I'll come and get it."
He's got an order
from the same customer
for a brand new car.
He'd then take that car apart,
repaint it,
re-electroplate it, re-polish it
and it would be, 3 months later, a totally
immaculate brand new looking car
with a brand new chassis number
that he got out the back door at Brabham.
The guy would then get the car back
and what he actually got back
was the original car.
I know one guy had the same car
for at least 3 years
but he thought
he got a new car every year.
Ginny had grown up
in a very sheltered environment
and suddenly there was this man
who didn't go by the rules
and he was very exciting.
We'd go to parties on a Saturday night
and Frank's dancing with Ginny
and it's getting obscene
and her husband has got
daggers coming out of his eyes
"and I walked up to Frank and I said
Frank, what the fuck are you doing?"
I said you can't be doing this,
have a normal dance,
I mean you know the only thing
he wasn't doing was having sex,
and Frank said, Oh I hadn't noticed"
and Ginny said, Well I certainly hadn't"
but everybody else had.
And then of course the show
was on the road then with them two.
And she moved into a flat
and then she thought,
How do I let Frank know that I'm here?
Because I mustn't let him know that I,
left my first husband because of him,
"that would scare him off."
So he didn't drink but
what he loved was fresh orange juice,
so she wrote a letter,
'if you fancy some fresh orange
juice, it's now being served at... ',
and she put her new address
and a day or two later
the doorbell rang
and he turned up at the door.
Looking for
some orange juice?
Looking for some orange juice,
And they're away...
I saw Frank Williams
make a very good start from the back,
he's now in third place
from about the third row of the grid,
that's very good indeed.
Back then his whole thing
was to be
the greatest racing driver in the world.
..who's the yellow car
sneaking through there?
Frank Williams.
It's Frank, look at him sneaking,
what a battle with these two saloons.
My word...
He was racing saloon cars,
but for some reason,
he never had an in built limit,
he would just go faster
and faster and faster
and fly off the circuit.
- And who's off there?
- Frank Williams.
Frank Williams trying too hard,
Frank always very fast
but very hairy and he's living up to it.
When I started doing
uh... Formula 3
sometimes I would encounter people
who would say to me
do you know that chap Frank Williams?
Yeah, I know Frank Williams,
oh, he's so fast and he,
and he crashed here
and he overtook here
and he did all kinds of things.
So Frank had this amazing reputation
as someone who was lightning fast,
not always staying on the road.
There were a
lot of races, he would've won,
but he ended up spinning the car
and having accidents,
he just didn't have a limit
and that extended
to his road driving as well.
- Well what was that like?
- Diabolical.
Where did you learn to drive?
In my mother's Morris 1000,
she was very reluctant to lend it to me,
and she was right because in the end
I did roll it on its roof.
But you rolled a few cars in your time.
Not that many, no.
Well it's just
that every time we talk about a car
it seems to be one that you've rolled.
Well I haven't talked about
that many cars though have I?
But didn't you,
what was your first racing car'?
- A35.
- What happened to that?
That got rolled.
He was nothing but competitive,
against himself in a road car,
it was almost at the point,
where he would start a stopwatch to see
if he could beat
his previous time from A to B.
And I think it dawned on him that
pretty soon he was gonna hurt himself,
you can't have that many accidents
on the road and in the, on race tracks,
you know you end up hurting yourself,
especially back then
when the cars were lethal.
What got me into Formula 1
was only the fact
that after two or three years of racing
rather dangerously around the continent
it became apparent
that I might have lots of uh... courage
but nothing like enough skill
to go with it.
At the same time I became very friendly
with a young man called Piers Courage
who was a brilliant driver.
And the opportunity came for Frank
to build a Formula 1 car
and Piers agreed to drive it.
And then Piers and I set off in 1969.
Piers Courage
was an ebullient,
fashionable Formula 1 driver
that captured the imagination
of everybody who loved Formula 1
and Piers was just, Frank's idea of
what a Grand Prix driver should be like.
He was just bouncy,
easily charming,
had a beautiful wife
whom half of London was chasing.
Apart from being a great looking fella,
never had a hair or
a piece of clothes out of place,
he was always the smartest guy,
buttoned down blazer, grey flannels,
Gucci shoes, he looked almost holy.
And I remember him
making a speech,
he had a slight sort of
English public school stammer
and I remember the interviewer
saying So Piers,
"how's your car gonna go
this weekend?"
"And he said, Well I think it'll go
like an absolute b-b-b bomb actually."
Hoping to go one better
than his second placing last year
was Piers Courage
in the very promising.
Frank Williams backed De Tomaso.
I remember last year, my right foot
terrific cramp in, cramp in it
and also the great blisters
on my hands from the gear changing.
Well I kind of adored Piers
in many ways but in those days...
it was "Piers is wonderful,
this is my mate."
I thought the world of him.
Piers and Frank were great together,
they were almost made
for each other I think,
you had Piers who was
really developing as a driver
and Frank was really developing
as a team owner, constructor.
Second place at Monte Carlo,
can you believe that?
Second place the US Grand Prix,
can you believe that?
5th at Silverstone, a great run.
Everybody wanted to be a
racing driver and Piers was on his way,
he'd beaten
Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark
and he was a really, really good driver.
Lark Ascending J'
Vaughan Williams
And suddenly he dies in this horrendous
accident in Frank's car.
I was in the race
and it was a terrible accident
involving us knowing that it was Piers
that had the accident
because his helmet came off.
And when you heard the news,
how did you hear the news?
Well it was, all I will say is that it was
a major shock,
I was very young, you don't
expect a shock like that
and I remembered,
I went to the race organiser,
a man called John Corschmidt
and I said,
John, just tell me is Piers dead?
"Are you sure he's dead?"
And he said I'm sure
and I said tell me that again,
he told me, He is dead Frank",
three times, I said "OK"
and I got up and I had the job of telling
his wife, Piers' wife,
and I'd rather not talk about that.
His wife, Sally,
was in a terrible state.
Wives in motor racing I think have had a
much tougher life than any driver has.
And I remember going
to the funeral and Frank was fantastic,
he stood at the entrance of the church
and welcomed everybody in,
and there were a lot of people,
shook hands with everybody,
thanked them for coming.
And then after the ceremony
we couldn't find him
and I walked back into the church, it was
and Frank was standing behind a big
stone pillar, absolutely destroyed,
there weeping his heart out
"and I said Come
on love, let's go home."
And it was like
that happy-go-lucky scene we had,
just dissolved like that.
But I know that, you know,
it wasn't really mentioned in,
Piers wasn't mentioned
terribly much at home,
I'm not sure dad ever,
I'm not sure how you would get over
a driver dying in your car.
This ability of Frank to carry on,
for me ifs fairly standard
in motor racing, knowing racing people,
most of them only think of tomorrow,
very rarely do they look back
and very rarely do they allow
emotion to come into their motivation.
There was
a very high mortality rate,
stupidly high
and it was just accepted that
you probably weren't gonna survive,
I personally did not think I would
survive my Formula 1 career
and the odds weren't very good.
On the second lap, disaster strikes,
Von Trips loses control
but the race goes on.
Those cars were effectively death traps,
if you had a head-on in one of those
they folded up
round you like an envelope,
You didn't get out of them.
The cars so readily caught fire,
the fuel systems in a minor impact
nearly always sprung a leak
and the fires were the thing.
We had a series of deaths,
one each weekend for four consecutive
weekends, four of our friends died.
The ethos of Formula 1
was back then, this happens,
ifs appalling but we, you know,
we're going to the next race,
like falling off a horse,
you climb back on again.
So this is an article, gosh,
dad did an interview with
The Times after Ayrton died.
'Formula 1,
one of the most powerful figures
in Formula 1 bares his soul
on his star driver's death
and the revival of his team.'
Dad says, It hasn't all sunk in yet,
you see, the fact of Ayrton's death,
the same slowness of thought
helped me get over my own accident,
"I suppose that is why I'm so calm
about expressing the fact that he's dead."
The former
world motor racing champion,
Ayrton Senna,
has been pronounced clinically dead.
Senna suffered serious head injuries
when his car left the track
and crashed into a concrete
I remember at Ayrton's memorial service.
Mum said don't you dare cry,
she said this is not your time to be sad,
she said this is not your loss.
Mum was a very loving lady
but she was very much of that mentality,
stiff upper lip, exactly like dad.
I think they both probably
thought that emotion was weak.
Well I mean it's not common
for men to show emotion,
serious emotion,
maybe anger but that's about all,
I mean you should never start crying
or any of that stuff.
you should never start crying or...?
We, I was, I was,
I shed a few tears
when Piers was killed definitely.
Mm... And when Ayrton,
when Ayrton died,
I mean they're my responsibility.
- When Ayrton died?
- Yeah sure.
But, er, it was out responsibility,
he was in a racing car
operated by us, as was Piers.
Yeah it was a Williams operated car.
And so how did you feel
on that day?
Far from well.
Here he comes down the outside,
that's a brave place to try and overtake.
Oh mama mia, mama mia,
oh they're gonna touch.
Bottas has a line!
They hit! They hit!
- And Raikkonen's off this time.
- Good, fuck off.
We are operating on a budget of
approximately 110 million Sterling a year.
And the likes of Red Bull
and Ferrari and Mercedes
are operating on two
if not three times that budget.
So from a financial perspective
you could call us an underdog,
I think that's the,
the negative connotation for me
is it gives this sense that Williams
are weaker than anyone else,
but we're not, we've been through
a lot more than a lot of teams on the grid
and we've always come out fighting.
And it's Bottas
who finishes in third place,
superb podium for him after
the incident with Raikkonen earlier...
a podium for Williams.
So happy, my heart hasn't stopped
going yet, that was quite intense...
Third place from Finland, Valtteri Bottas.
And did
your mum get to see you in this role?
No she didn't, um which...
you know for me is really sad,
it's kind of heart breaking really.
I'm sad about that but Pm more sad that
she hasn't seen the team turn around,
because that was
what she desperately wanted to see
that broke her heart really at the end.
I began to realise that
if I do want a wife
that she was the best
I was ever likely to find.
Well it wasn't, it wasn't a posh wedding,
you know with white stuff everywhere,
it was a, what do you call that thing,
a reg, a reg, registry whatever.
- A registry office.
- Thank you very much.
I think dad had said that
he would son' the registry office out
and never did and would get the rings
but he didn't have any money
so Mum had to borrow money from
um Dave Brodie
I think it was that bought the ring.
So that's it, I went there
quarter of an hour early,
gave them 8.00, never got that back,
didn't expect it back.
It was all over in 15 minutes.
Her parents certainly weren't there,
I'm not sure they approved
uh... of the match.
Out we went
and I said, "Oh this a great day",
let's have a celebration, I'm
gonna buy you all a spectacular lunch."
Frank said,
Not me you're not, I'm working
and he fucked off, that was it..
I don't know what man
in his right mind
would think that that was OK
but you know Dad did,
and Dad went back to work
and Mum went to lunch
and probably really
didn't think very much of it,
because she was used to it by then.
Dad is a completely different beast
to most normal men.
Frank from when
I first met him was,
always seemed very fit and athletic
and he was forever running, every
night was a long run.
He ran every circuit that
we were at the race track,
he used to run round it
and he felt bad if he didn't,
you know it was like a drug for him.
Frank is very,
what would be called focused,
some people could say narrow,
I mean, some people
find Frank a bit unusual now
and think it's because of the accident,
well it isn't, he was always very unusual.
In Frank
there 's a huge amount of repression,
there's a huge amount of determination.
There's an extraordinary retentive
I suppose,
motor racing people in general
are the most intensely competitive people,
I've ever known.
They're not
very mature intellectually or culturally
because they neither read nor think
uh... very much except about
what they actually do to which
they think in an extraordinary degree.
I've never been close to Frank socially.
I mean, we've never...
I don't, I don't think
we've ever been out for dinner together.
He felt that anything
that involved socialising
and having a drink or relaxing
was actually a waste of time.
I am addicted to motor racing",
Frank Williams
declared uncompromisingly,
motor racing is what matters
most in my life and then he goes,
Well I have a family which
I love very much,
but they tend
to take second place to the business,
"there's no question about that".
But did you used to do
the family holiday type thing?
Never done that, never.
Oh it's too late now anyway,
never interested in that.
Oh my god,
well this is embarrassing,
Mum wanted a hotel
to take the three kids to
and family tradition was
to have a picture of all of us
on the balcony with Mum,
so that's me and Mum there,
so would've been when I was
16, look at me, horrendous.
So in total we went to Marbella
with mum 32 times, 32 years.
How many times did your dad come?
Never, not once.
- And that didn't bother you?
- No.
Mum always used to tell us,
there's no point having your father here
because he would drive us all mad,
so we just used to go down there
and we had a lovely time.
Can you get that wheel,
fast as you can, the bottom one.
Joe have we got
another wheel mounted?
Frank endured
a lot of piss taking for his efforts
and you know
he was the poor northerner
that didn't have a pot to piss in
and his cars were rubbish and, you know,
he didn't have half the parts for them.
Frank couldn't afford new tyres
and was racing
with second hand Firestone tyres I think.
I wish they'd ban
tyres, there's just too many.
If Ginny hadn't been there,
Williams wouldn't have made it,
cause a lot of the money
that kept it going was hers.
I remember Ginny gave him 8.00 once
to go out and buy some fish and chips,
I think it was
and he went out and bought
eight Champion sparking plugs
and never came back for three days.
No I don't think my parents were
happy when they learnt
that she'd sold her flat to help Frank
and to give him a bit of the money.
If there was
a common denominator through
the first decade of his relationship
with Virginia, would be penury.
Frank Williams' team
is at its lowest ebb
the cars are well down the grid
in seventh and ninth places.
Frank came round to see me
"and said Brode I can't carry on"
and he had a bit of paper
with debts on it and they were huge,
and then overnight uh... this guy
who had been creeping around with Frank
and giving him
little bits of money, Walter Wolf,
did something that happens
in business all the time.
Walter bought out Frank's debt
and took control
of the Williams Formula 1 team.
Walter was clearly
a pretty clever business man
he'd made a fortune many, many
tens of millions by himself.
I thought let's give this a crack.
But by half way through 1976,
it was very plain to Walter
that the race team wasn't running well,
and that Frank didn't have
the capability to turn it around.
And then Frank went to the factory,
put his key in the front door,
it wouldn't work. Then,
the side window opened and a guy said,
Frank that's your things there, you can't
come into the factory,
you're banned from the factory now.
He couldn't believe it, he'd been
locked out of his own factory,
it was his life, his life was in that box
and inside that factory.
And then six weeks later, Frank's car,
which was renamed 'The Wolf',
went down to South America
won its first race.
The thing that Frank had been living for,
for all those years.
One day,
Ginny phoned me up and she said,
Brode I've got a lot of problems
with Frank, he's in a fit of depression,
"he hasn't got out of
his pyjamas for six weeks."
Sol turned up 11 o'clock
and I looked at him and I said,
What the fuck's going on here Frank?
"You've got your pyjamas on."
"And he said Brode, I can't quite
get my mind together about things"
and I knew what was killing him.
I said to Frank,
"Look there must be some way
you can get into Formula 1 again."
"And he said Well I don't know,
I don't know" he said,
but I've been thinking about it
and I might be able to get 185,000
out of a Belgian beer company
called Belle-Vue
but we'd have to have a Belgian guy
called Patrick Nve as driver.
"I said So what?
That's the start of a new Formula 1 team."
Do you think so?
I said, Yeah Frank,
"I said get out of them poxy pyjamas
and go to work, do what you're best at."
We sat
at my kitchen table and I said right,
"You do a list of Formula 1 team
names and I'll do a list."
And what was the name
that you came up with?
Oh it was really tough,
very testing, very brain stretching
but we kept it
Williams Grand Prix Operating Limited.
I said
Right I'm taking 2 days off.
We're gonna go find a factory."
"Yeah!" he went.
It was very much
hand to mouth but uh...
I loved what I was doing
I'm very optimistic
and I felt it would all come right.
At the end of the day,
when you're a racer, you're a racer,
- it's a bit of a bug.
- A bug?
It gets you.
140,000 fans packed into Silverstone,
so Hamilton's on the right as we
look at it, Nico Rosburg on the left,
the British Grand Prix
about to get under way,
lights out, away we go
and who's it gonna be,
it's a good start from the second row,
the Williams and Massa,
Williams out getting
both cars past both Mercedes.
Massa leads,
Bottas trying to get
second from Hamilton,
Hamilton in a bit
of trouble but he's fighting back
but we have a race on our hands,
what a start from the Williams guys.
- I think Valtteri is quicker.
- He is quicker, he should pass them.
He should pass them.
Be careful, be careful! And he's off!
Hamilton goes off in his attempts
to try and rest the lead
and that might give an
opportunity here for Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas goes into second place.
And up front ifs Williams
one and two at the moment.
Bottas comes in from the race lead
as Lewis Hamilton
continues around the track,
let's see how the stop goes
for Valtteri Bottas, ifs pretty good,
Hamilton's already along the start
finish straight, he's alongside,
Hamilton retakes the lead
and where does Bottas come back out?
He comes back out behind
his team mate, Felipe Massa.
Oh, Hamilton is pulling away in front.
Lewis Hamilton
wins the British Grand Prix,
he had to fight for it,
ultimately Williams have
to settle for fourth and fifth
but you have to feel for Williams.
Patrick Head is
the technical genius inside Williams,
the engineer swot who
bestows power
on the charismatic leader.
When I met Patrick,
which is the best thing,
apart from marrying the wife I married,
was the best day
to ever happen to me in my life.
He was a gifted engineer.
Patrick is a person who,
he doesn't suffer fools gladly...
Oh he's a bully, if he wanted it
and it wasn't coming
he'd bully his way through.
A lot of people are frightened of him,
you know he's a broad guy
and he can be quite aggressive looking
but his character is not one that
junior employees found comfortable,
you know what I mean, they knew when
they had made a mistake.
I think most of
my father's forbears were military,
one of them General Michael Head
had been a soldier under Wellington,
I think not wanting to fail was a very
strong motivation.
This car's half a second slower
on the stop watch than the other car.
The thing that was unique,
that Patrick brought to the show,
he was responsible
for making Formula 1 reliable.
So Frank's cars
almost instantly finish races,
which they hadn't been doing before
and that's
where life changed for Williams.
The British teams have
kept ahead with innovative designs,
the most recent
being the aerodynamic skirt,
a rigid panel that scrapes
along the ground
between the front and rear wheels,
creating a phenomenon
called ground effect.
For Frank Dernie a simple graph
shows the rise in suction
under the Williams wood skirts.
If you remove the skirt you actually
get so little flow in this area...
The thing
that really made a big difference
was a fairing
along the side of the engine
which allowed
the flow to remain attached
all the way to the back and I tested
that in a wind tunnel test
just before Silverstone in 1979
and it was the biggest gain
of performance I've ever seen on a car
so I rushed back from the wind tunnel
and drew the parts
and we got them made so we
could use them at Silverstone.
I remember going out there
and hopping in it for the first time
and thinking bloody hell.
What was
the difference with the car'?
It was better
it was just better.
Don't start getting me,
trying to be technical
because I'll look like a complete goose.
We went to the test
and in the morning,
everybody had been running and I think
the best lap time would of been uh...,
I dunno 12.9 or something
by somebody and Alan went out,
I remember the time absolutely,
he did a one minute 11.88 just like that,
bang, and the rest of the pit lane
were doing mid 13s
and it was most peculiar because
you were standing there with your thing
and everybody went...
and looked down at us,
they couldn't,
they just could not believe it.
In practice,
Alan Jones in the Saudia Williams
has slashed an incredible
seven seconds off the record,
and that's a lot these days.
Alan was a man's man,
he was an Aussie,
it's all you expect from an Aussie,
maybe you know big character,
strong personality,
took no nonsense from anybody.
He liked his fun, he liked to drink,
though I think he always had a bit of
a struggle keeping his weight down.
After a race
you'd nearly always see him
pouring a beer down
his throat or two or three.
In motor sport there's two good
reasons to have a bit of a drink,
one is to commiserate
and one is to celebrate,
so you're pretty safe either way
you're gonna have a beer.
Two Williams in the first two rows,
the incredible veteran,
the Swiss driver, Clay Regazzoni.
Well Clay's
not as quick as he used to be
he's now very much
a number 2 driver
he's number 2 to Alan Jones
in the Williams team.
We all sort of expected Regazzoni
to be quicker than Jones
but he never was.
Jones turned out
to be much, much better
than any of us had realised I think.
Now all ready
for the 68 lap British Grand Prix.
And punching through,
it's the two Saudia Williams cars,
first into Copse Corner and
they're coming through, that's Jabouifle.
Jean-Pierre Jabouille
is going to go through,
he's got tremendous speed
and power here.
510 horsepower and it is still,
Alan Jones leads now.
When Alan took the lead
quite quickly and just disappeared,
Patrick and I were just counting the laps,
praying for the laps to keep reducing
because it, there was a new car,
it wasn't necessarily reliable,
and witnessed what was about
to be a major event for the team.
This became a reality.
And Alan Jones pulling away now.
Well I was leading very
comfortably but then all of a sudden,
in the rear view mirrors
I saw a hell of a lot of smoke
coming out of the back of the car
and I thought there was
something wrong for sure.
And that is trouble for Alan Jones
and he, the way he's coasting,
it looks as though he's burst his engine.
I mean I should've
hung around for the end of the race
but I was that pissed off
I just jumped in my car
and went back to London
at about 300 mile an hour.
So Clay Regazzoni
is the new leader
of the 33rd British Grand Prix.
Clay Regazzoni almost home
to win the first race ever
for the Williams team and Frank Williams
will be beside himself with joy.
And Clay Regazzoni
goes across the line
and he has won the British Grand Prix.
We were so much quicker
than anyone else,
even though Clay
was nowhere near as fast as Alan
and of course
when Alan broke down he won.
We won a British Grand Prix,
I mean you couldn't put it in a book,
it was incredible.
Clay, what is
so good about this Williams car?
Everything, everything
It was the first win
for Frank Williams in Formula 1
since he started
over a decade previously.
Frank Williams,
this must be the happiest day
of your motor racing life.
No doubt about that,
you're right yes.
Frank, what were your feelings
during those last few laps?
Well sheer terror
that the car wouldn't finish,
we'd lost Alan and I was terrified of
losing Clay but the car was very sweet.
Frank we've watched you struggling,
if I may say so,
in motor racing since 1969.
Frank Williams,
a man who's kept trying for Britain,
many congratulations Frank,
thank you very much.
I think my parents just,
after everyone had gone,
just sat there,
just on the sofa
of the caravan arm in arm
and just didn't want the day to end,
it was, it was surreal.
So what did that feel like?
Well relief I suppose, a relief,
because a lot of people would think,
oh Frank, bloody Frank hasn't got a clue
what he was doing but I pressed on.
For me personally I felt,
about bloody time.
From that moment on in the season
I think we were totally dominant,
we were a second or two a lap quicker
than anybody else everywhere.
I went on and won
the next three Grand Prix's,
I won the Dutch Grand Prix,
the Austrian Grand Prix
and the German Grand Prix.
And Jones has done it,
and he is the world champion.
He's the world champion of 1982,
Keke Rosberg.
Well he has an eye for the ladies,
Frank, he's always liked a pretty girl.
I, like Frank, had women
literally throwing themselves at me
and you can't help every now
and again pick one up can you?
I used to get notes put on
my windscreen wiper of my car,
there were groupies
going around the circuit
and they were parading
up and down the pits,
unreal, we called
them screwdrivers, and they did.
With any sport you get
a following of glamorous women
who are just there for the action
and they will appear
at the parties in the evening,
sometimes in the hospitality areas
and a lot of the sponsors
employ promotions girls,
all tall and long legs
and very glamorous.
Formula 1 is
a heady cocktail
of strutting temperamental egos
and a deep undercurrent
of male sexual domination.
When I started
there were very
few women working in Formula 1,
some of the teams had a female caterer,
maybe a husband and wife team,
there were press officers
who were women,
women were considered
to be irrelevant, they made the tea,
booked the flights or provided
glamorous accompaniment
to drivers and team owners.
Although she was a perfectionist,
she knew that life
is always full of compromises
and that was probably one of
them and she'd fallen for Frank
but she'd fallen
for Frank as a complete package.
And because she was completely
besotted and head over heels
that was it and she dealt with it.
Um I wouldn't.
Could you imagine at that time,
a woman being
Deputy Team Principal or-
No, absolutely no way,
women, men in motor racing are sexist,
they're possibly
the most sexist people in any sport.
Women are always going
to come under more scrutiny
because there was a huge body
of people within Formula 1
who still don't believe
women can do the same job as men.
I think Formula 1 traditionally
has been quite a male dominated sport
but there are so many more women now
that work um in our sport,
and that's not just
in the high profile positions,
so we've got female engineers,
female aerodynamicists
so things are absolutely changing.
So your father is an icon
when it comes to Formula 1,
was it harder to prove your skills
because you're a woman
or because he's your father?
Um Formula 1, this role,
was not my ambition from a little girl,
however kind of circumstances changed
and a job became available
and I was asked to do it, not by my dad,
um and in fact when he was asked
he said no way is she working
for my company.
So if you're,
in your private life,
in which situations do you enjoy
being a woman?
I get asked
that female question a lot,
I was asked it last night at dinner,
I was asked it in
four interviews I did yesterday,
but I still find it quite odd
that people find it surprising
that a girl might be doing this job,
it really kind of annoys me.
Heritage is sort of a nice,
to-itself department uh...
we, we have some support
from people in the factory
but it's, it's mostly just,
just me and Dicky so
yeah it's mostly just, just us here.
Just getting down here to some of
the bigger components,
you can see much heavier there,
they're actually
buckling the shelves in here.
Oh that box isn't numbered.
Does Claire ever
come over here Johnny?
No I don't think
she knows this room exists.
- I don't.
- No?
No, nobody comes over here
I don't think.
Me and Johnny.
Jonathan wearing his um, Johnny used
to like playing soldiers quite a lot.
- How are things?
- Not, not the best.
- Can you talk about that?
- Um...
Um... Johnny is, you know it's um...
I suppose some families just have,
you know, always gonna have
you know some issues
aren't they and um
unfortunately Johnny and I do
um, which I think is something that I will
regret and be very unhappy
about my whole life um...
And is that,
is that to do with work or...?
Yeah. Yeah it is, unfortunately.
Is it because
you got the position that you did and...
- Yeah.
- He didn't.
Yeah, exactly.
Yeah I'm not, I'm not the oldest
and I'm not a boy.
Uh... that's me and Claire.
You two look
pretty close in that one.
That was about 30 years ago
It's horrible,
he thinks that I was ambitious
and that um I put myself in,
in the position and
you know I lobbied, I,
you know cajoled my way in and
couldn't be the situation... could not
be further from the truth.
It's something their mother
would be deeply unhappy about
and I think it's something
that she could've sorted
um in a way
that probably nobody else could.
I don't believe Frank could,
could sort it out.
I can remember some time in
1984 and as young children do,
waking up earlier than their parents
and just for this man
with a moustache and uh...
an accent different to ours,
obviously being from Birmingham
just walking past
and saying good morning
and it scaring the living life out of us,
and us both running into
my parents' room
and saying there's a man in the house,
there's a man in the house
and uh... them saying,
No, no, no, no it's Daddy's new driver,
"that's Nigel Mansell."
The rumours say
that you might be going to Williams,
what would you have to say about that?
Williams? Williams?
Who are they?.
When Nigel was on top form
he was as good as any driver
we've ever had I would say,
he was hard work out of the car
but in the car he was,
he was really superb.
Nigel is three people in one,
he's an absolutely fantastic racing driver
who is just astoundingly good
when it comes to overtaking people.
And Mansell moves to the
outside and Manselfs going through,
Nigel Mansell takes the lead
and neatly boxes Ayrton Senna.
As a family man,
he's just the nicest guy,
he's got a lovely family, he adores his
children, he's faithful to his wife,
unlike quite a few racing drivers
but as a person out of the car
he's an absolute arse,
you know he's just
a difficult bloke to work with.
Drive slower, get it together,
it's a fucking nightmare,
then someone's...
And that was why,
generally speaking,
we all liked Nelson quite a lot
and found Nigel a bit too much.
Nelson Piquet replaced
Keke Rosberg for '86
and he was hired because
Frank loved the idea of Nelson Piquet,
he had already won
two world championships
and he loved
Nelson's Brazilian flare, his girlfriends,
the way he looked,
the way he carried himself.
He had the private yacht
and he had a helicopter on the yacht
and he had a
citation 10 jet which at that time
was by far the fastest jet in the world
and he was flying it.
Nelson was ebullient, loved life
and was a very cool guy,
Nigel was cheese
and chutney sandwiches
and hot milk before he went to bed.
I thought at that time
Nelson was the best driver in the world,
so I was thrilled to bits he was coming,
he was very keen to join Williams
because he felt that
we were the quickest.
Nelson felt
with that package around him
he could win
another world championship.
We were doing
the last of the pre-season tests,
"the Paul Ricard Circuit, so we had both
Nigel Manse" and Nelson Piquet there,
Frank had come out to the test because
he was very excited
about the performance.
Dad was you know away,
he was at a preseason test
and it was a kind of
spring afternoon and mum
suggested we go out on some bikes
and took a little picnic
and found a field, like you do
and it was a really lovely day
and then we just got back
and waiting for dad to come home
and, but he never did.
The test was going very well,
I think Frank
was full of the joys of spring
and thinking, right we're gonna go out
and show them
we can win the world championship,
he was due to run a half marathon
on the Sunday morning afterwards.
Frank, keen to get back
for the half marathon he was doing,
it was a county half marathon,
he was that good.
And so he and Peter Windsor
who was the marketing guy at the time,
they went to the airport.
And he had his Avis Ford Sierra...
and he said Right c'mon, let's go.
And then a spot of get-home,
have you ever heard of get-home-itis?
When you wanna just get home?
You've gotta get home, must do,
must catch the last flight.
He took a little twiddly road
down through the back of the circuit
and it was a very, very twisty,
narrow road.
And he was in this 1600 Sierra,
throwing the thing around,
braking as late as he could
but I do remember
saying to Frank at one moment,
when the back end skipped out
under braking into a tight left hander,
uh... Are the brakes ok
on this thing Frank?
And he said
with sort of trepidation,
Frank do you always drive like this?",
meaning, and you can't really
tell your boss this, f-ing well slow down.
I remember him saying,
Yeah, the brakes are fine,
brakes are fine.
I was rushing
and rushing and rushing.
Suddenly we were in clear road,
the road was downhill
and there was a fast left hand kink
about 300 yards ahead of us
and I remember seeing
through the windscreen the,
a stone wall on the inside,
it looked like we were just gonna hit the,
the end of this wall and my reaction was
just to bury myself in the foot well area.
As we hit the back,
that wall the car went up in the air...
...there was just silence,
just a terrible silence,
then this massive thump and crash.
It was you know a real whack
in my neck sharp, sharp pain, pain.
It's, rolling over doesn't hurt like this.
I remember Frank saying
after about 10 seconds,
Are you ok? Are you ok?
I can't move, I'm trapped, I'm trapped,
get me out, get the ignition off,
get the ignition off',
because already
there was a smell of fuel.
I'm suspended about three,
four inches from the floor upside down.
And there was a lot of blood
because he'd taken
a direct blow on his head
when the roof had come down like that.
Soon as I undid the belt,
of course I fell on my bleeding head,
right on my neck again.
The only thing I could remember
was to try to stabilise
his head and neck
and try to pull him out
by holding him under the armpits
and then he started to say,
You know Peter, I'm a Roman Catholic
and if anything happens, I want to see
if you can get the last rites.
We were just looking at packing up
when a French youth
arrived on a moped asking for me
and he explained that
Frank Williams had gone off the road
and wanted some help.
But Nelson said Oh shit,
that's a twisty road, I know the road,
"let's go down and see."
We didn't know exactly the damage
but uh...
Uh... we knew it was
something very dramatic.
We raced to the scene
as quickly as we could
and at that time Frank's life
was in the balance.
And that's when Nigel
delegated himself really
to go in the ambulance with Frank,
basically hold Frank's hand
and be with him.
Uh... I had a tremendous fear
for Frank's safety and,
and his wellbeing and life at that time.
So certain people needed to be energised
to do the right thing, quickly.
But by then it was pretty clear
that there was a very good chance
that he's broken his neck.
When I phoned Patrick Head I told him
that it looks like, from the x-rays,
that Frank's spinal column's been cut
and it was pretty, I think I said to him,
I think he's' fucked,
like you know he looked really bad.
The next day Ginny
and I flew down to Marseille
and she was pretty shattered
but she was a brave woman.
The first time that I knew
that things were gonna be really serious
was when the doctor in charge
of the intensive care unit
called Ginny and I into
his office and said,
"When do you wanna move
Frank back to England?"
Which I immediately
took to mean they think he's gonna die
and they don't want him
to die in their hospital.
At that stage,
when Ginny got the message
that the frogs
were gonna let Frank die,
she organised a plane,
flew him back to Heathrow,
an ambulance took him
to the London hospital
and 20 minutes later he was
hooked up to English machines
and he was in
a shocking state, shocking state.
The first thing
that happened to Frank
was that he had a tracheotomy operation
in the London hospital
and the operation went
well in the sense that
suddenly Frank had
relief and he could breathe,
he could get the fluid out of his lungs
and I remember Ginny learnt how
to operate the extraction of the fluid
and would help the nurses
and was able to do that
on her own within a day or two.
Her approach was I'm gonna manage
these nurses around Frank's bed here
the way Frank runs a race team.
Ginny was literally his guardian,
he clinically died three times
and without Ginny jumping on top of him
and pumping his lungs out
and resuscitating him,
not the nurses and the doctors,
but Ginny herself,
um he would've been dead.
I remember I was off one day
and Ginny was on duty as she called it.
The head of the unit came out and said,
Normally Mrs Williams,
in this situation,
"we would turn the life support off,
but we need the family's permission."
Did you ever doubt whether
Frank should be kept alive?
Yeah and um I actually said to him,
Frank, I'm your best pal
and I'd do anything for ya,
you want a bag over your head,
I'll do it for you",
I promise you I said this,
I said but you'd have
to convince me first
"why your kids wouldn't
want you around in any condition"
and I said,
So don't ask me to do anything
"that your kids wouldn't approve of."
So he said, I won't do that David",
that was when he was speaking,
he said I'll never do that."
So this is a book
I wrote when I was little.
I wrote that
I thought it would be a good idea
to start a kind of scrap book
all about my father.
Above all I wanted somewhere
to write down all my memories of him
before my mind had
the chance to forget them.
Hopefully I will never forget what
he used to be like before his accident.
Everyone thinks their father is the best.
I'm not an exception.
"I worship my father.
It sounds silly but he's my hero."
I started taking CDs
and things like that
for him to listen to,
to fill in the time a bit,
because you have to remember
he was a marathon runner,
you know he used to run 12 miles
every day and felt bad if he didn't
and it was a spectacularly
big change of life for Frank
when he had his accident.
So what, what kind
of music did you introduce him to?
Erbarme dich
Johann Sebastian Bach
I mean I thought
that my pal Frank was indestructible,
you know he got away with everything,
Frank'll be alright
but he wasn't on this one
and Pd go and see him
three or four times a week,
I always gave him a kiss, I had to,
lean over and give him a kiss
on the forehead
and say
"Your old mate Brode's here, mate."
and he used to flicker his eyelids
at that, he couldn't speak,
stuff in his mouth, up his nose,
oh it was a horrible sight.
Oh there was
a lot of discomfort
and pain in the very early days,
that's inevitable,
when such a major part of your body
gets a kick in the arse
but um I can't say "Oh it was terrible",
it's not in my mind,
I don't remember much of it.
Body's got a great
many ways of protecting itself,
when it's in a bit of pain or bother.
First thing they said,
Broken your neck, long recovery period,
how much you'll recover isn't sure,
of course they knew
I wouldn't recover uh...
but you don't quite tell a person
"when he wakes up
You're f-ed mate, for good."
Probably for the first time
in front of me,
Virginia, she lost it,
it was a sort of an awful moment
and I remember putting my arms
around her and she was saying.
Frank's gonna be, he's quadriplegic,
"he can't walk Jamie,
he can't do anything."
And I was saying, It's gonna be ok
but I had this sort of feeling,
I wasn't sure at all that
it was going to be ok.
For a long time, maybe three,
four months after the accident,
there was no real certainty that
he'd ever be able to leave the hospital
and to all intents
and purposes he was dead to the team.
And you know there we were
with the fastest car,
we were gonna win all the races,
we got two fantastic drivers
and everything was going
and then all of a sudden the boss,
the figure head, the main man
had had this horrific accident
and it really was a massive change.
I think then it sort of dawned on us all,
um, where do we go from here?
What's gonna happen in '86?
We await the start of the.
Brazilian Grand Prix
and the 1986 season.
Sadly, Frank Williams,
boss of the Williams team isn't here
after a major road accident in France.
But for the whole team,
that's an added incentive to do well.
Well they went to work
with a vengeance,
instead of them all
moping about, they said.
You tell Frank you don't have to
worry about a thing here,
we're gonna win the
next races for him.
And it's go.
A superb start for Nigel Mansell,
who has already passed Nelson Piquet.
And it's Senna, Manse, Piquet is
the running order at the present moment.
Manselfs touching wheels
with Ayrton Senna.
We went to the first race
and Nigel crashed on the first lap
whilst trying to overtake Senna
in a very stupid manoeuvre.
Mansell appears
to be out of the race
so up into second position ifs now
Piquet and Moretto is up into third place.
And through
into the lead goes Nelson Piquet,
Nelson Piquet leads on lap three,
this one is for you Frank.
Nelson Piquet wins
the 1986 Brazilian Grand Prix
and you will hear
the crowd go absolutely mad.
I can say
it was a very special day for me,
I think it's a good present for Frank,
I think he's there
lying in a bed and uh...
I think he will
be happy to watch the race and uh...
Uh... we hope uh...
that god help Frank also.
It was clear we had the best car
and the only thing that
was gonna come between us
and winning the championship
was lots of intra team rivalry
between Nelson and Nigel.
I think that, that was used
actually to motivate Frank,
we need you Frank,
to manage these two guys,
because there's gonna be problems if,
if we just let them race free rein
and we need
to get on top of this quite quickly.
Nelson claimed
that Frank had said
you will be number one driver,
you will always have the spare car
and the team will revolve around you.
I came there to win the championship,
I came there as the number one driver.
Problem was, Nigel didn't sign
as a number two driver.
So he drove as fast as he could
and quite a lot of the time
that was faster than Nelson was going.
Nigel used
to drive straight at him,
because Nigel was pretty aggressive,
I mean a couple of times
Nelson said to me
I had two choices, be second or die.
I must've been a nightmare
to drive with as a number two,
being as quick as I was at times.
I mean that was horrendous.
You know, they hated each other.
Nelson insisted that we went
into the hospital and saw a,
an almost dead, croaking Frank.
Saying, Frank you said
that this and whatever
and Patrick is running the team so
that we're equal number ones with Nigel.
"And that's what,
not what you said to me."
And Frank was, I mean I don't think
Frank could reply to him.
He was almost out of it.
When things didn't go
as well as they should've for Nelson,
in other words
when Nigel was quicker,
Nelson assumed that
it could only be because
Nigel Mansell had
been given preferential treatment.
100% the English team
wanna win the English driver,
Williams for sure wanted to make
an English champion, not me.
Nelson thinks that there was
a bias towards Nigel
because he was British.
I think that's not true, um
there could've been but Nigel
was such an arse
that it was very difficult
to have a natural bias to him,
I mean on one occasion, I do remember
he was whinging about something,
Oh did you see what he did
to me then?", on the radio,
and Patrick said, on the radio,
For fuck's sake, stop whinging Nigel
and switched his radio off.
Patrick carried the business
in my absence, it was very hard on him.
Paddy was left lumbered,
an enormous amount of responsibility,
he wasn't ready for.
I was up to my eyebrows with two guys
that both were determined to be
world champion that year
and were not gonna take
for me saying.
"Sorry I can't make a decent job
of running your car"
because I'm too worried
about Frank Williams so uh...
It was a very stressful,
very difficult time in the team.
And uh... everything went
completely disaster for me,
but uh... Frank was not there
and I couldn't come
to the hospital and say
Frank, this has happened this,
this has happened that, it's not fair,
his problem was much more
than my problem.
Frank was still in intensive care
and he remained in intensive care
for quite a time and it was another,
I think it was 12 weeks
um before he eventually came home
but they were the longest weeks
you could imagine.
We all were just relieved
and thrilled that dad made it
and he was home
and we got him home.
Yes it was a very different kind of life
but we had dad still
and we were a family still
and he still had Formula 1
and that's what kept him going.
Frank Williams is quadriplegic,
from his shoulders down
he has no control
over the functions of his own body.
Less than six months
after the accident
he had ruthlessly
forced enough movement
into his partly functioning shoulders
to push himself along,
but his arms are just pistons of
flesh and bones, with no feeling.
He's paralysed from
his shoulders literally downwards,
he can lift his arms
and he can, for example,
if he wants
to scratch him in his face
he pushes his hands
against his face um
but he can't, he can't use his fingers.
Why does it say
hell on wheels?
Um it's because Dad's life
is hell in a wheelchair.
He's always in
a lot of pain all the time,
I don't think people realise that,
how much pain Frank is in, every day
of his life, every minute of every day.
You wouldn't know
it though would you?
No you wouldn't think he has anything
to complain about.
Dad never does think he has anything to
complain about.
That's a lovely picture of mum and,
well not so good of dad, lovely of mum.
And what about Ginny,
how did Ginny react?
Well it was tough, tough, very tough
I think. Very tough lady.
Um but she didn't fall apart,
she took very good care of me.
It must've been very hard for her,
suddenly you're not
a proper husband anymore
and have to spend a lot of time
looking after him.
It's very difficult for anyone
who hasn't lived with a quadriplegic,
to know what it's like to almost lose
your husband but not quite.
Well their relationship clearly
was likely to change
um in that Frank needed care
at all times of the day and night
so if it was
a different kind of life for, for Frank
it was gonna be an equally different
kind of life for, for Virginia.
'l'm not usually given
to making New Year's resolutions,
but at the end of 1988 I decided that
I would spend the following year
setting down everything
that has happened to Frank and me
in the last two decades.
Both before and after the car accident,
which left him permanently paralysed
from the neck down.
I felt it might act as an exorcism.
A way to put it all behind me
and start to look forward again.'
Reading it, it was like, Jesus Christ,
she went through this
and she didn't tell anyone,
you know she didn't share
that burden with anybody.
Why do you think
she shared it, then?
She says that it was
a cathartic exercise for her,
because Dad's the star isn't he?
Dad's the one in the spotlight,
Dad's the one that everyone goes
Frank Williams is amazing,
Frank Williams is wonderful
and for all those years
Mum had been in the background,
I don't think she did it,
she didn't wanna do it
because she wanted fame or adulation,
she just did it because she wanted to,
people to know the full story.
'His memory of the early days
after his accident is blurred and vague,
he has never asked me
what it was like in France
or in the London hospital
or what it has been like for me
these past few years, now he will know.'
Have you,
have you read her book?
No, I don't want to.
Why do you not want to read it?
That's a peculiar emotion.
I think, I would like him to read it,
um because I think that
it would be respectful to Mum
um to understand
what she did go through but I just,
you know I think,
I dunno I just think it's probably
too much for Dad to read it,
he doesn't feel any need to,
but I wish he would.
Do you think you
ever will read it?
Maybe, before I die, but not,
not imminently that's for sure.
That picture must be.
Frank's first Grand Prix
after his accident,
big change of life for all of us.
When Frank appeared in the
wheelchair the crowd just went crazy.
It's great fun to be with the team,
it's great fun to be
at a race track again.
Back at the track,
Frank Williams savoured
his team's success
for the first time this season,
Piquet and Mansell took first
and third places in practice.
He did have
a really sort of symbolic visit
but he was determined to be there
because he wanted
the world of Formula 1
to know that he was still around
and ostensibly still in control
but he played no part at all and
was very much a show appearance.
But my father only attended
on the Friday, the practice day
and that was all
he was physically up for.
The lights for red and go!
And Piquet leads,
Mansell is second into clearways...
The two Williams cars
in their battle for leadership,
toe-to-toe, eyeball to eyeball,
almost wheel to wheel.
Nelson and Nigel
really, really started
to slug it out with one another.
Nigel wasn't afraid to be half an inch,
an inch away from anybody
if he had to be, erm, and he was
and it was serious motor racing between
the two Williams Honda drivers.
And there he goes,
Nigel Mansell
leads the British Grand Prix
from the man
who is his greatest competition.
Piquet's going for it as they go down
into the right hander
at Paddock and Mansell's
absolutely on the racing line,
there are no orders between these two.
From the pit wall,
that was the first time I remember
not actually enjoying the race
because I was so sweaty palmed
as to what might happen
between the two of them
and I think Frank
was back home watching it on TV,
probably as nervous as the rest of
the team was at that point.
Piquet going through on the inside
but he's gonna be blocked
"and he has been
and Manse" holds the lead. Great stuff.
Nigel Mansell exits the last corner,
"crosses the line
and Manse" is the winner.
Great stuff.
Wonderful drive.
Nigel has broken his back,
he's broken his neck,
he is now number one
in the world championship
and just listen to the crowd.
After the race it wasn't normal
for a team manager
or team representative
to be on the podium,
but on this occasion,
because Frank had been there
for the test and because it was Nigel
and because it was Brands Hatch,
Ginny was invited up,
to take the Constructor's Trophy
on behalf of Frank.
Now behind Alain Prost,
the woman is Ginny Williams.
You'll just see her in a minute I expect.
There's Ginny Williams and,
and Patrick Head,
the designer of the
winning Williams car. Oh what a day.
And there
is Ginny holding up the trophy.
To me, that photograph is one
of my favourite photographs of Ginny
because she's got this expression
on her face where it's just like, yes!
It was a tremendous moment
because of what
Ginny had gone through,
because the accident
just didn't happen to Frank,
it happened to everybody
but the closest person it happened to
was his dear wife.
Hi Preston.
How we doing
there Jimmy Jock the Noo?
Alright thanks Frank.
Is Biggles under control is he?
Very hard work isn't it?
And the best therapy
Frank ever had
was being back at his desk with a phone
that Nelson gave him actually,
which allowed him to
tap numbers on, big numbers on a pad
and he had a headset on,
make his own phone calls.
Mentally he said,
So long as I'm on the phone, so long as
I can talk, I'm going motor racing.
Basil Hill Road
Mentally, how do you think
the disability has affected Frank?
I did ask, ask him a couple of times
when we,
when we are alone in the car if,
if he sometimes thinks of running again
and stuff like that
but he said he gave
that thought up completely now,
he is completely in peace
with the situation
and I think this is also
what you get from him,
he's not sitting there and thinks
"Oh shit I should have, I should have,
just got on with it."
I can truthfully,
and I'm not bragging,
I had a major business on my mind,
a racing team,
it's like having a hard-on all your life?
It's like having
a hard-on all your life?
Aren't you jealous of what I do?
Running a Grand Prix team,
owning a Grand Prix team,
I run racing cars
and world famous drivers all of the time,
it's, I think it's a great privilege.
You know
it's Jamie's birthday today dad?
Dad you need to choose
which cards you want to give him.
Is he about 28?
He's about 32
actually, dad now, yeah.
That's my signature..
It's a bit drunkard but...
Jamie, you write that, Jamie.
So dad always gives us money
for birthdays, all the time.
Am I giving some money.
You're giving him money,
I've organised it.
- Oh.
- So dad had his way,
because he has no idea how,
the value of money anymore,
because he hasn't been
into a shop for about 45 years,
he would give us all 50p
so we have to do it for him.
That, Claire,
that's absolutely untrue.
It is true, but you don't really know
what things cost anymore do you?
Not really no.
So how much does
a newspaper cost?
Um up to 15 pence.
15 pence?
I personally just wanted to say,
along with, I know my dad,
just thank you so much for all
the work that you've done
so far this year.
I know it's been a really, really
long season for everybody.
I know maybe there's
a little bit of disappointment
that we weren't
a little bit better this year,
but I think everybody needs
to really remember where we came from,
and it's only been two years since
we were ninth in the championship.
When Williams were third
in the championship in Abu Dhabi
I went into the garage
at the end of the race
and I stood at the back
until all the TV cameras
had finished with Claire
and I said I think mum's in here
and she's watching over you
and she's thrilled.
I was just saying to dad,
it feels like forever
since she's been gone,
I think Mum would've been
a brilliant Team Principal you know,
I think she would've been probably the
best Team Principal.
Formula 1 had ever seen
if you'd just let her,
I think secretly she
would've quite liked to have been TP.
Virginia was diagnosed
with cancer in the summer of 2010,
I think she knew in her
heart of hearts that
it was gonna get her and it
was just a question of when.
She was sort of taken
for granted in as much as you know
she was hail, hearty and fit
and well, and Frank wasn't
so it was not in anyone's mind I guess
that she was as vulnerable
as she obviously was.
I miss her,
she was a lovely lady
and I don't know how Frank copes
without her because
he doesn't have a lot of people
to go home to talk to anymore,
it's quite sad really.
I think it affected him
very deeply um,
more deeply possibly
than he would've imagined
and I think that he probably came
after her death to realise
just how much he loved her.
She was the foundation of.
Frank's life outside motor racing,
it was the only thing
you know and uh... he did say,
I'm not bothering to go home anymore",
now Ginny's gone.
He'd just sleep
in his flat in the factory,
he didn't bother to go home,
why bother'?
I, I kip down the corridor
most nights of the week.
Down the corridor
in the factory?
- How are you?
- Good actually.
It's lovely and warm in here for you Dad.
I turned the heating up.
You haven't read
the book, have you, pops?
No, I must make
the effort, so, yeah.
You should, you should make
the effort, it's an amazing book.
- So you must read it.
- Yeah I will, yeah ok.
You should do,
although it is quite sad, it is quite sad.
'Sometimes I dream that Frank
is running through the Berkshire lanes.
Everything is alright.
Early in the morning in that split second
between sleeping and waking
I sometimes forget,
as one might forget what day it is,
that Frank is paralysed
then the knife blade of
reality twists sharply in my stomach,
jerking me back to the present,
how must Frank feel in that
same moment of semi-consciousness?
What a nightmare to wake up to,
to be a prisoner within your own body,
not even to be able to get out of bed
until someone else moves you.
Frank also dreams,
he says that usually in his
dreams too he is running,
he has made a magical recovery
and everyone is astonished
to see him return to fitness
and turns to watch
as he races past them.'
'We are and always have been two
quite different characters,
Frank has never wasted
his time bemoaning the past,
it's one of his many strengths, the
past means nothing to him,
whether it's a
world championship won or lost,
or a road
accident that crippled him,
it's yesterday, it's boring,
today and tomorrow are what count.
I in contrast am happiest with the past,
I prefer the past to the future
that frightens me now.
What happened to my dreams?
I wanted us to grow old together,
I wanted to die in Frank's arms,
I'm gonna start crying.
'We have both grown
as a result of the experience,
but if a fairy godmother offered to
wave her magic wand
and take us back to the way things
were when I first married Frank,
I would not hesitate for a second,
I would happily exchange the houses,
the executive jets,
the smart hotel rooms, the gold Rolexes
for just one night in a scruffy bedroom
anywhere in the world
with a selfish, funny, unsympathetic,
unreliable, charismatic man I married.
I laugh much more than I used to,
it helps to stop me crying.'
- It's so sad.
- Don't start crying.
I haven't read it since mum died
and it's about how she will go
to her grave heart broken
over what happened to you.
You should be very proud.
What about going to the races?
Do you think you'll still be able
to go to the Grand Prix's this year?
Why not?
I dunno, doctor's orders?
I'm fine.
I mean I'm paralysed but I'm,
I probably, I spend,
I haven't had a day off work,
I don't think
I've had a day off work in years,
I just don't get ill, never have done.
Frank's personality hasn't changed,
what he can physically do has,
but his approach to his racing,
his love of Formula 1,
his obsession with it
is just the same now,
as it has been as long
as I've known him.
So how does
a man like that retire?
He's not going to retire,
he's going to die on the job.
Well Frank will never stop.
Yeah he will stop
when he closes his eyes.
Do you think you'll see
Williams on top again,
in your lifetime?
Yes, certainly possible.