Williams tells the story of one of Forumula One’s most celebrated families. Frank Williams, a car enthusiast entered the world of auto racing selling car parts & then built and rebuilt racing cars. He raced himself and not just on the track, off too – always trying to beat his last drive time. Eventually Frank began his own Formula One racing team. They won their first Drivers Constructor’s Championship in 1980. (Australia’s Alan Jones won the Driver’s title).
More wins would follow and then in 1986 while driving to Nice Airport in France with the team sponsorship manager Peter Windsor Frank lost control of the car he was driving and crashed into a brick wall. Windsor came out of the crash shaken but fine, however, Frank’s back broke and he became a quadriplegic from the shoulders down. Eventually he gained the ability to propel himself in a wheelchair and with braces on his hands dial numbers on a telephone & can write.
It is easy to imagine that this film is just about Frank Williams, its about more than him. It also gives the viewer insights into the bonds between him and his late wife Ginny, their daughter Claire and their sons Jonathan and Jamie too.
I like how Matthews sectioned the film telling Frank’s story, moving to Ginny and her recordings with Pamela Cockerill that lead to the book A Different Kind of Life , and the third part of the film that focuses on Claire who is running the Williams team, her father who still comes to the races, and how things are looking up for their racing team.
I have watched other sports documentaries similar to Williams and I wish other documentaries could take a page or two out of its play book. A well done documentary much more than satisfying, really, really good.
Williams: the story of 1 of Formula 1’s celebrated families
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