Williams Formula One racing team is a legendary name in the sport. Sir Frank Williams has had a team racing in Formula One since 1969. Taking it all the way back to a time when racing was an incredibly dangerous sport. Drivers were seen as daredevils and for good reason. The mortality rate was high and accidents did happen. The first driver for the Frank Williams racing team died in a crash at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1970.
To win under these circumstances takes an obsessive dedication and the power to overcome any challenge. Frank Williams faced the biggest challenge of his own after a horrific off-track car accident that left him a tetraplegic.
This documentary doesn't just tell the tale of the incredible successes of the Williams racing team. Instead it focuses most of the attention on Frank Williams, his family and the challenges they faced. It provides a truly revealing expose of a highly driven man. Williams put racing first in the pursuit of perfection. He loved running and was a strong powerful person with a commanding presence until the tragic accident which put him in a wheelchair.
His late wife Ginny cared for him after the accident displaying incredible strength through a very demanding period. She wrote about this in her memoirs and recorded a series of tapes describing how she felt. The scenes in the film when we hear the tapes made by Ginny during this period are incredibly powerful and touching. Claire Williams, their daughter, is now the Deputy Principal at Williams racing. She gives a detailed account of her childhood, how she viewed parents along with the difficulties that have arisen with other members of the family.
Legendary drivers such as Nigel Mansell, Jackie Stewart and Jacques Villeneuve, all give their own honest accounts of their experiences with the Williams family. But the film doesn't stop there. It also gives a clear insight into the technical superiority of the Williams cars that dominated the sport for so long. The brutally honest depictions from these legends of the sport packs a lot of punch especially when the subject of the tragic death of Ayrton Senna in a Williams car is the topic.
The whole film is put together brilliantly by BAFTA award winner Morgan Matthews. And it has a great score to match. Generally, most motoring sport doco movies become a little shallow focusing on the technical sides of the cars. But, Williams manages to deepen the story significantly providing a good balance of the human side of racing and what it takes to be champions of the world – truly inspiring.
Update: Williams is only available on Netflix US. You can rent it on Amazon but it is not included with the Prime subscription.