Bottas pays tribute to Sir Frank Williams: 'Without him, I wouldn't be in F1'

Valtteri Bottas has paid tribute to Sir Frank Williams, thanking him for giving him a chance in Formula 1.
Bottas pays tribute to Sir Frank Williams: 'Without him, I wouldn't be in F1'

Bottas joined Williams in 2012 on the back of winning the GP3 Series title.

The Finn made his debut for the Grove-based outfit in 2013, leading the team to its best run of form since the mid-2000s with back-to-back third-place finishes in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015.

The legendary team owner died aged 79 on Sunday, and Bottas was one of several drivers to reflect on the influence Sir Frank Williams had on their respective careers.

"Frank, I’ll remember definitely as a friend, as a character that motivated a lot of people," Bottas said ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

When I was there, the whole factory was racing for Frank because it was his passion, and his ambition to have a successful team at the top of the grid.

"He was the guy who gave me my opportunity to get into F1 so without Frank, and him giving me that opportunity to show myself, I wouldn’t be sitting in this seat right now. So yes, I’m going to miss him, but I’m not going to be the only one. He was just a nice guy, a legend that everyone loved."

Lance Stroll also made his debut with the Williams team in 2017.

"He gave me an opportunity to drive for his team and it was the beginning of my journey in Formula 1," Stroll explained.

"Without that opportunity, I don’t know where my career would have led to. It was a very sad day for motorsport, for Formula 1. Frank was a legend of the sport. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with him off the track as well. A great guy, great sense of humour, and an incredible competitor, he was always very competitive and carried his passion for Formula 1 until his last breath.

"I think just we’re going to miss him and I was fortunate enough as well to spend time at Williams working with him and his Williams family, so my thoughts are with his family. It’s definitely a big loss for Formula 1 - we’re going to miss him very much."

Current Williams driver George Russell said he had "fond memories", revealing that he felt "nervous" before meeting him in 2018.

"I’ll remember Frank with fond memories," Russell added. "I remember going to meet him for the first time feeling rather nervous back in 2018, but within seconds, to be honest, you recognise how warm-hearted he is and the sort of personality he has.

"He was such a great human being and so well-loved by everybody in the team and the wider community of Formula 1 as well – so he’ll always be a legend within F1."

Nicholas Latifi joined the team at the start of 2020 - the Williams’ family final driver signing before being sold to Dorilton Capital later that year,

Despite Sir Frank’s reduced role on the team, Latifi said that you could still feel his "presence".

"Even though his involvement was not much in the last few years, you could still feel the presence he was, and the symbol he was to everyone on the team," Latifi said.

"I think we’re going to be racing especially in his memory and for everything he’s contributed to this team and this sport."


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