Optimistic Williams celebrate 600th race

Williams celebrated their 600th Formula One race on Sunday but, for all their past wins and titles, they failed ot garner even one point in the British Grand Prix.

The once dominant team, winners of nine constructors' championships between 1980 and 1997, have not scored in the last eight races and are locked into their worst ever start to a season.

Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado's against-the-odds victory in Spain last season was their first in nearly eight years and the team has only gone backwards since. It has been a decade since Williams came close to winning a constructors' championship.

The only bright spot in an otherwise depressing campaign has been Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas lining up third on the grid in a rain-hit Canadian Grand Prix qualifying - before the hopes vanished in the race.

"I wake up every morning determined to get us back to the top," said team founder and principal Frank Williams. "Williams should be fighting for championships and I am confident that we will be doing so once again."

It will be a long and hard road back but there is still huge goodwill in the sport towards a fiercely independent and proudly British team who rank as the second most successful after Ferrari in terms of constructors' titles.

They have 114 wins, 127 poles and seven drivers' championships to their credit with the likes of Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve.

They have also lived through dark days, the 1986 road accident that left Williams paralysed and wheelchair-bound and the tragedy of Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna's death in one of their cars at Imola in 1994.

In fact, the 600th race will be in Germany next week - with the team counting from the foundation of Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977 with a staff of 17 working out of an old carpet warehouse in Didcot - but Silverstone is home.

"Our foundation and our longevity is a testament to the thousands of people who have sacrificed so much to keep us here," said Frank Williams. "It seems only right to mark this milestone at the home of British motorsport alongside our loyal British fans,’’ he added.

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