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Motorsport | Formula 1

Frank Williams © Gallo Images

Williams jumps the lights to mark 600 races

Frank Williams has never been one to stand and wait, always obeying the adage that claims if you stand still in Formula One, you will be overtaken by the developments of your rivals.

As a result, it is no surprise that the Williams team will be celebrating their achievement of 600 Grand Prix race starts at this weekend's British Grand Prix – one week before they actually reach that landmark.

The team will clock up 600 at the German Grand Prix on July 7, exactly seven days after the Silverstone race starts on Sunday

But they have decided that this weekend's British event is more suitable for them to celebrate their longevity with their home fans.

"For an independent team like Williams to reach 600 races at the pinnacle of motorsport is a remarkable achievement," said Williams, the team's founder and principal.

"Seventy-eight teams have come and gone or changed ownership since our foundation and our longevity is a testament to the thousands of people who have sacrificed so much to keep us here.

"It seems only right to mark this milestone at the home of British motorsport alongside our loyal British fans."

The British Grand Prix circuit was the scene of the team's first win in 1979 and their 100th win in 1997.

To mark the achievement, the Williams team will carry the number 600 on the side-pods of both their FW35 cars.

The livery will also be emblazoned with the names of all 691 Williams employees who work across all divisions of the Williams Group, as a tribute to their continued hard work and dedication.

"Williams has never been an organisation to dwell on what has gone before but this weekend we will be rightly celebrating our heritage and reflecting on some of our defining moments over the past 36 years," added Williams' daughter Claire, who is deputy team principal and commercial director.

"This is also an opportunity for us to take stock and look ahead to the future, making sure that we have the necessary pieces in place to make our next 600 races just as memorable."

Founded in 1977 by Frank Williams and Patrick Head, Williams have secured 297 podiums, 114 race wins and 16 world championship titles in 36 years always sticking to their principles and remaining as British as afternoon tea.

Nine of those titles have been won in the constructors' championship. The other seven were drivers' championships won with Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve.

Quintessentially British, the Williams Group has also grown into a significant international business since its inception and its achievements earned Frank Williams a knighthood in the 1999 New Year's Honours List to augment France's highest civil decoration, the Legion d'Honneur.

The team hope to add to the celebrations this weekend by scoring their first points of the season.

A tough 2013 to date has brought best results of 11th places for Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who won in Spain last year, in Malaysia and Bahrain respectively, but they were given encouragement at the last event in Canada when Bottas qualified third in a rain-hit session.


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