His mother eventually sent him to a Catholic boarding school in Scotland, where he discovered his love for cars and speed, especially after taking a ride in a friend’s Jaguar.
Although he excelled at languages - he spoke several fluently, including Italian – and passed his college entrance exams, he skipped college to get into the race. He supported himself with a series of daily jobs, most notably as a Yorkshire representative for the Campbell Soup Company.
Between jobs, he traveled across Europe, working as an unpaid mechanic in pit crews at some of the continent’s smaller racing circuits. He also raced occasionally, but with little success.
Instead, he discovered he had a knack for the business side of the sport. As he moved through Europe, he bought and sold parts, negotiating the flow of spark plugs and tires among dozens of racing teams and racking up a small pile of money to start his own. team.
He founded Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966, with Piers Courage as the driver competing in Formula 2 races. Three years later they had reached the elite level of Formula 1, and Mr. Courage the wealthy and dashing. heir to a burgeoning fortune, was suddenly one of Britain’s most recognized sports figures.
Although Mr Williams has said he never considered quitting the sport following the death of his friend, it clearly had an impact on him and his team. Unable to find a winning driver, he soon dodged debt collectors and worked in a phone booth after he stopped paying his phone bills.
His wife, Virginia, whom he married in 1974, kept him afloat, juggling bills and loaning him money his parents sent him. He spent it freely on his obsession; once, when she gave him eight pounds for groceries, he spent it on spark plugs instead.