About

Williams is one of the world’s leading Formula 1 teams. It exists purely to race in the top echelon of motor racing, where it has been winning grands prix for more than three decades.

READ MORE
Our Partners

Williams has always been a family-run team and the family ethos extends to our partners, who support us every step of the way during the season. Find out more about our Official Team Partners below.

READ MORE
Our People

Williams is a human capital business, with a wealth of diverse and driven team members all working towards the same goal. Find out more about our people below.

READ MORE
Our History

Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd is founded by Frank Williams and an ambitious British engineer called Patrick Head. The company is based in an empty carpet warehouse in Didcot, Oxfordshire, and enters a purchased March chassis in order to compete in F1 during the latter half of the season.

READ MORE
Williams Racing confirms Jamie Chadwick for 2021

Williams Racing is pleased to confirm that Jamie Chadwick will continue her work with the team as Development Driver for the 2021 Formula One season.

READ MORE
Williams Racing confirms Jamie Chadwick for 2021

Williams Racing is pleased to confirm that Jamie Chadwick will continue her work with the team as Development Driver for the 2021 Formula One season.

READ MORE
Season Stats
  TEAM POINTS
1 MERCEDES 540
2 RED BULL 282
3 RACING POINT 194
4 MCLAREN 184
5 RENAULT 172
6 FERRARI 131
7 ALPHATAURI 103
8 ALFA ROMEO 8
9 HAAS 3
10 WILLIAMS 0
Esports

Williams Esports will compete in a range of online sim racing competitions this season. The team’s roster of elite gamers will represent Williams, racing in series and events on multiple platforms during the year.

READ MORE
JOIN THE TEAM

READ MORE
About Us

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is a world-leading technology and engineering business, born out of Williams F1 in 2010.

READ MORE
Technology Solutions

Well known for our experience in world class engineering, Williams Advanced Engineering have employed that "know how" to develop a series of products based around vehicle integration, powertrain and battery control systems.

READ MORE
Battery Management Systems

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) has developed a unique knowledge of batteries and their operating systems, electro-chemistry and the science of cell and pack design in the highly demanding motorsport arena

READ MORE
Battery Modules

Having honed our knowledge of battery development and manufacturing since the formation of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) in 2010 to the point where we are now sole battery supplier for a number of electric race series, we are the idea partner for any battery related requirements

READ MORE
Vehicle Control Systems

Our range of electronic control systems centres around a high-performance core digital architecture enabling a mix of standard, proprietary and custom software which can be tailored to meet individual customer requirements

READ MORE
Data Systems

At Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), data collection and analysis of data to allow informed decision making is key to everything we do

READ MORE
Capabilities and Technologies

The core competencies of Williams Advanced Engineering are sector agnostic and do not apply only to motorsport or even automotive. Already this expertise is being applied to sectors as diverse as retail and defence. If a company requires support in any of these areas of competence, the people at Williams Advanced Engineering can provide it.

READ MORE
Electrification Programmes

Williams Advanced Engineering has created very high performance batteries in the Formula E programme, at the cutting edge of battery performance and management. Formula E is a test bed for electrification and new technologies that is now being transferred into prototype vehicles and road cars in award-winning projects.

READ MORE
Aero & Thermal Dynamics

Williams Advanced Engineering is unique in the desire and capability to apply expertise in high level simulation and aerodynamic know-how from the pinnacle of motor racing to other sectors. Born out of Formula One, working faster than almost anyone else, customers receive an advantage of speed of response and top of the range people, hardware and software providing full aerodynamic services.

READ MORE
Manufacturing

The Williams Advanced Engineering people and facilities deliver world-class products for the company’s own projects and for customers.

READ MORE
Motorsport

Williams Advanced Engineering has a dedicated Motorsport group. This multidisciplinary design and engineering team have supported numerous championship winning clients.

READ MORE
Vehicle Programmes

Working with customers, the teams at Williams Advanced Engineering set targets to define the product concept, analyse, evaluate and optimise it, before then real world development refines the result to perfection.

READ MORE
Specialist Product Delivery

From productions runs of one to the low hundreds, the people at Williams Advanced Engineering are experts in the quality manufacture of high performance products across industry.

READ MORE
Industrial and Product Design

The people at Williams are problem solvers, tackling the most complex engineering challenges on a daily basis. Customers come to Williams for help with their new innovations.

READ MORE
Advanced Lightweight Structures

Williams Advanced Engineering is using its breadth of experience in lightweight materials from Formula One, where lightweighting can make a significant difference on track, and other projects to offer new ideas and solutions to industry.

READ MORE
Simulators

Williams has extensive experience using state-of-the-art simulators in Formula One allowing drivers to prepare more effectively for Grand Prix.

READ MORE
Foresight Technology Fund

Launched and managed by Foresight Group, the Fund benefits from a unique collaboration between Williams Advanced Engineering and Foresight Group, combining technological expertise from Williams and Foresight's track record in financial management.

READ MORE
Working with us

Williams Advanced Engineering is the technology and engineering services business of the Williams Group, providing world class capabilities to deliver energy efficient performance to customers and address the challenges of 21st century mobility and sustainability. Williams Advanced Engineering is also constantly searching for more top talent to deliver for the company and its customers.

READ MORE
Contact Us

READ MORE
Machine Discovery Secures First Round of Funding Led by Foresight Williams

Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering are pleased to announce an investment into Machine Discovery, an innovative University of Oxford spin-out commercialising new machine learning technology.

READ MORE
Machine Discovery Secures First Round of Funding Led by Foresight Williams

Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering are pleased to announce an investment into Machine Discovery, an innovative University of Oxford spin-out commercialising new machine learning technology.

READ MORE
Careers

View all our current vacancies within Williams Advanced Engineering and apply for positions online

READ MORE
Electronics Technician

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for an Electronics Technician reporting to the Principal Electronic Engineer. This is a key role where the successful individual will facilitate development of electronic products also providing assembly and test support. The successful candidate will be responsible for conducting board level rework including SMD and through hole soldering. They will also design and manufacture PCBs using the micro miller and conduct test plans. They will have extensive experience in an electronics role and ideally with a working knowledge of using electronic laboratory tools such as PSUs Oscilloscopes and DVMs. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and varied position within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 7th May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Engineer - Performance Simulation

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for a Performance Simulation Engineer on a permanent basis. The successful individual will be responsible for providing performance simulation analysis and capability development to support the companies diverse project portfolio. Duties will be wide ranging and include, aiding conceptual direction through feasibility and early stage analysis. The successful individual will be responsible for creating, developing and running the performance simulations. This role includes interacting with internal and external customers, supporting project teams to achieve deliverables and demonstrating good communication and interpersonal skills. Additional duties include: • Development of core vehicle framework using Matlab / Simulink. • Developing co-simulation toolsets within Williams Advanced Engineering. • Detailed analysis of simulation results and creation of comprehensive post processing. • Aiding correlation activity with input to physical testing, calibration and validation. The successful individual will have experience of using Matlab and Simulink systems modelling with a base understanding of electric powertrains and battery systems. Practical experience of C++ Programming, vehicle set up or test rig would be beneficial. Within this role a familiarity with principles of Optimal Control would be advantageous. The successful applicant will have a degree in mechanical, automotive or aerospace engineering and experience of performance simulation in one or more of the following: • Multibody modelling (pref. Simpack, could be ADAMS etc) • Lap simulation exposure • Objective manoeuvre modelling via CarMaker or similar tool • Simscape or other physical systems modelling experience (e.g. Dymola, AMESim,) This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and enthusiastic team within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 7th May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Manufacturing and Quality Engineer

Williams Advanced Engineering are currently looking to recruit a Manufacturing & Quality Engineer on a permanent basis reporting to Manufacturing Engineering Manager. As subject matter expert, using your Manufacturing and Quality knowledge and experience you will help ensure that all designs can be translated from prototype into repeatable production. You will lead and participate in APQP activities; leading problem resolution and other continuous improvement initiatives and activities. Key operational duties include: • Supporting the Mechanical Development and Production Teams with the management of all prototype builds ensuring all processes, tooling/equipment and facilities are in place and/or planned. • The setup of low volume production environments and the development of manufacturing processes to ensure production is conducted safely, on time and on budget whilst ensuring best practice is adhered to. • Supporting the successful implementation and delivery of specific Advanced Production Quality Plans for new product introduction. • Providing manufacturing engineering support to the Production, Procurement and Programmes Teams and owning virtual build events. • Participating in the release of engineering drawings and CAD data, mapping processes utilising techniques such as PFMEA's and control plans. • Production and maintenance of SOPs, build records, process routings and production documentation whilst devising your own specific elements of the quality improvement road map. Supporting the Quality Management System and the business’ compliance to ISO9001:2015, and any project specific quality requirements. • Supporting the Quality Team through the creation and use of Quality tools and techniques. To be successful in the role, you will have proven experience gained in a low / medium manufacturing engineering / production assembly environment, preferably in Aerospace, Defence, Automotive or similar sectors and a minimum HND/HNC/Degree in a relevant engineering discipline. You will also have experience in the use of business improvement tools and techniques (5s, Lean, Kaizen) and using APQP tools and techniques. Experience of low / medium volume automation, Siemens Teamcentre MPP and NoMuda Visual Factory software would be an advantage. The successful individual will be an excellent team player with the ability to complete tasks independently. You will be personable with strong communication skills and a flexible attitude. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a fast paced and varied position within Williams Advanced Engineering. The closing date for this role is Friday 21st May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Principal Engineer – Electrical Systems

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for a Principal Engineer – Electrical Systems This is a senior role in the Electrical Systems Team the successful Individual will be responsible for designing and developing the electrical systems and architectures deployed in various products ranging from Hybrid energy storage systems to whole vehicles. Duties will be wide ranging and include generating system and component requirements, based on features lists and cascaded project requirements and attributes, defining suitable architectures for both systems and whole vehicles, including managing signal databases. This role will also require management of suppliers, delivering components or systems to a project and assisting with the build and fault-finding of projects. The successful Individual will undertake hazard analysis, risk management and DFMEA for components and systems as required and define and execute system test and validation activities. The successful candidate will have a good understanding of On Vehicle networks, support vir-tual and physical builds for components and vehicles and have the ability to work to strict deadlines. To be effective in this role the Individual will have extensive experience and proven track rec-ord in electrical systems within the automotive or Autosport sectors, hold a degree in a related subject and will be able to demonstrate good communication and Interpersonal skills. The role will require the Individual to Support technical and project reviews and Preparing and presentation reports for Internal stakeholders and external customers. Experience in some, or all of the following would be advantageous in this role: • Experience of Electric Vehicles – HV charging, HV battery and HV powertrain systems • Working knowledge of Vector tools including CANalyzer • Experience of Requirements Capture Tools, such as Siemens Polarion or IBM Rational Doors • Has worked with developing ISO26262 compliant systems. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and varied position within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 10th May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Project Managers

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited (WAE) are currently looking for Project Managers to join our team on a permanent basis. Reporting to a Senior Programme Manager/Chief Programme Engineer, this is a key role where the successful individual will plan and manage stakeholders for their designated projects and deliver agreed objectives including revenue, timing and deliverables. Duties will be wide ranging and varied and will include management of customer project relationships, acting as the primary point of contact. An important part of the role will be to ensure key decisions affecting programme delivery are communicated to senior management/executive sponsor with a proposed solution in line with project timelines. Project management activities for the delivery of appropriately sized projects include: the production of technical requirements, achievement of deliverables, establishment of cost and timing, reporting on progress, cash management/invoicing and risk management/mitigation. There will be a requirement to align with WAE process to realise programme delivery and identify areas of improvement. There will also be a need to identify areas of change to workscope and control via change management systems. Representing the WAE brand providing event support, including some travel nationally and internationally, will be an important part of the role. The successful individual will have experience of working in a programme delivery environment; managing multiple projects to meet deliverables. They will have knowledge of maintaining cost plans and strong customer awareness. Experience of MS Office, in particular MS Project, is preferable. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and varied position within Williams Advanced Engineering. Closing date: Friday 7th May 2021 Williams Advanced Engineering is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Senior Engineer - e-Powertrain and Integration

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for a Senior Engineer – e-Powertrain and Integration on a permanent basis. The Senior Engineer – e-Powertrain & Integration will take a holistic view of the electrification technology offerings, and solutions for client applications, seeking to identify the optimum concepts, products, technologies and solutions to meet client timing, cost and performance attributes. Operating within a collaborative team structures, the senior engineer will take system ownership and Integration responsibilities for e-Powertrain for multiple client projects, working closely with the client, the chief engineer and PMO within discrete project teams. Additional duties include: • Frequently performing a ‘Technical Lead’ role for propulsion system integration projects. • Working closely with WAE’s battery, software/control and simulation departments to develop holistic propulsion solutions that are suitable for volume production and are capable of integration into full vehicle programmes. • Developing advanced concepts to improve efficiency and performance • Developing strong strategic alliances with other technology and solution providers, researchers and institutions. • DFMEA creation, DVP creation and implementation, and attribute setting and compliance. • 1D analysis of powertrain. • Problem solving and fault rectification. The successful candidate will have a degree and extensive experience in mechanical, automotive, or aerospace engineering. A working knowledge of Polarion and skillset in Matlab would be beneficial. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and enthusiastic team within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 7th May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Senior Engineer - Battery Integration

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for a Senior Engineer - Battery Integration on a permanent basis. The successful candidate will take a ‘Technical Lead’ role in battery programmes at WAE, leading activity to develop bespoke batteries from concept through design, development and into production. The role is highly collaborative, working across technical departments, production departments and directly interacting with clients across a diverse portfolio. This is a highly engaging role pushing the boundaries of HV batteries and into wider projects for personal mobility, transportation and logistics. The successful Individual will be responsible for understanding customer requirements, generating project scope and system specifications. Developing solutions that are suitable for volume production and are capable of integration into full vehicle programmes. Additional duties include: • Reporting project health and key metrics to all relevant stakeholders through gateways and cadence reviews. • Attribute setting, requirement management, and milestone delivery responsibility. • Contribute in concepting, packaging reviews, and provide overall guidance for layout and clash-conflict. • Work closely with purchasing and production departments to ensure cost and manufacturing capability. • Problem solving and fault rectification. The successful Individual will have wide knowledge in DFMEA and 8D problem solving and experience in DVP of product validation processes. The successful candidate will have a degree and extensive experience in mechanical, automotive, off-highway or aerospace engineering. A working knowledge of Polarion, Siemens NX11, TeamCentre or Catia V5 would be advantageous. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and enthusiastic team within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 7th May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Senior Engineer – Calibration

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for a Senior Engineer – Calibration. The successful Individual will work within the Electrical Systems Team providing calibration support to the Vehicle Dynamics Team. In addition, develop electrical systems and the sup-porting architectures. Duties will be wide ranging and include working with the Vehicle Dynamics, Software Controls and Simulations teams to provide calibration support for the systems fitted to vehicles, includ-ing but not limited to EV powertrain, Stability systems and Steering Systems. This role will also require generating system and component requirements, based on feature lists and cascaded project requirements and attributes. The successful candidate will support the Electrical Systems team in delivering electrical, chassis and powertrain systems. Also assist with the build and fact finding on projects, gener-ating system architecture diagrams and circuit drawings to support electrical design activity. This role requires undertaking hazard analysis, risk management and DFMEA for components and systems as required, supporting virtual and physical builds of components and vehicles. In this role the Individual will prepare and present reports and support technical reviews with external customers and Internal stakeholders. To be effective in this role the Individual will have extensive experience and proven track rec-ord in electrical systems within the automotive or Autosport sectors, hold a degree in a related subject and will be able to demonstrate good communication and interpersonal skills. Experience in some, or all of the following would be advantageous in this role: • Have a high a level of driving ability focused on road vehicle development • Experience of Electric Vehicles – HV charging, HV battery and HV powertrain systems • Working knowledge of Vector tools including CANalyzer • Experience of Requirements Capture Tools, such as Siemens Polarion or IBM Rational Doors • Good understanding of On Vehicle networks. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and varied position within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 10th May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Senior Engineer - Control Systems

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for a Senior Engineer – Control Systems reporting to the Principal Engineer – Control Systems. This is a key role where the successful individual will be responsible for the specification and development of control strategies. This covers specific activities such as specification, requirement capture, design, implementation, simulation, testing and calibration support on vehicle product. Operational duties will include deriving software from system requirements and implementing them working closely alongside the systems teams to ensure the software developed meets the feature requirements. The successful Individual will Support ISO26262 process with traceability from requirement to implementation, and support MIL/SIL testing as and when projects require.You will also work towards generating patentable IP and work to strict deadlines and milestones. The successful candidate will have a good engineering degree in a relevant discipline, experience of mainstream automotive ECU hardware and software development following ISO26262, be an expert level user of Matlab/Simulink/Stateflow and automatic code generation techniques for algorithm development, have a strong understanding of Autosar modelling techniques. Having experience of test and measurement techniques and CANape / CANoe / CANalyzer would be advantageous. You will also need to ensure high levels of competence in the use of development tools. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and varied position within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 7th May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Senior Engineer - Vehicle Integration

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for a Senior Vehicle Integration Engineer on a permanent basis. The successful Individual will take full responsibility for vehicle or e-Powertrain integration activities, providing a ‘Technical Lead’ function to deliver the overall programme with the aid of PMO. The individual will lead all vehicle integration activities, from initial concept through to project completion and communicating with stakeholders at all times. Additional duties include: • Attribute setting. • DVP creation, and attribute monitoring. • Coordinating activity between different system or commodity groups. • Developing solutions that are suitable for volume production and are capable of integration into full vehicle programmes. • Contribute in concepting, packaging reviews, and provide overall guidance for layout and clash-conflict. • Generate and present project material. The successful Individual will have wide knowledge in all vehicle systems, particularly experience in e-powertrain systems and body or chassis systems such as suspension, steering and brakes. Knowledge of lightweight design and composite structures would be beneficial. The successful applicant will have a degree and extensive experience in mechanical, automotive or aerospace engineering. A working knowledge of Siemens NX11, TeamCentre or Catia V5 would be advantageous. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and enthusiastic team within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 7th May 2021. Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability, we are happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments.

READ MORE
Senior Procurement Officer - Electrical

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited are currently recruiting for a Senior Procurement Officer – Electrical reporting to a Procurement Team Leader. This is an integral role responsible for management of the electrical supply base to ensure the effective strategic supply of products and services are delivered to specification, schedule and in the most cost-effective manner to support a multi programme demand. Responsibilities include the delivery of conforming materials and parts, for new and existing products in conjunction with supplier quality assurance team, reporting against electronics and harness commodity strategy gaining consensus with internal and external stakeholders and the preparation and issue of tenders. The successful individual will provide cost and budget leadership, ensuring clear and accurate data into the programme BOM and will create associated reports for Senior Management. They will also carry out all commercial negotiations, including design and development, tooling and piece price and will manage supplier selection and nomination in conjunction with our supplier quality assurance team as well as internal stakeholders. Additional duties include: • Enabling and supporting the VE/VA and DFM process with Suppliers and Engineering to achieve Quality, Cost and Delivery targets; • Working with the ERP system to raise purchase orders and ensure on time delivery; • Supporting the Quality Assurance team with the resolution of supplier quality concerns when non-conforming product is identified; • Responsibility for the coordination of NDA’s with the supplier and legal team; • Chairing regular business and programme reviews with key suppliers ensuring strategic alignment is achieved. To be successful in the role, you will have excellent negotiation and influencing skills along with the ability to work under pressure in a strategic manner whilst establishing strong relationships internally and externally. You will have strong analytical skills aligned with an ability and commitment to meet deadlines. Extensive experience of electronic components and/or electrical harness procurement is essential and is the ability to review and understand electrical technical proposals and specifications. The ideal candidate will also have experience in delivering complex multi-vendor strategy and will have an awareness of SQA requirements & standards. This is an exciting opportunity to further your career in a growing and varied position within Williams Advanced Engineering Limited. Closing date: 28th May 2021 Williams Advanced Engineering Limited is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity and inclusion, we are therefore happy to discuss reasonable job adjustments where required.

READ MORE
Event Rooms

10 multi-purpose event rooms offering great flexibility for events of up to 200 guests in a modern and inspiring surrounding

READ MORE
Driver Suites

The Ayrton Senna, Piers Courage and Alan Jones driver suites

READ MORE
Circuit Gallery A

The Monza and Hockenheim meeting rooms

READ MORE
Circuit Gallery B

The Barcelona, Estoril and Jerez event rooms

READ MORE
Museum & Tours

Housed in the award-winning Williams Conference Centre is Sir Frank Williams' private Williams Grand Prix Collection, the largest of its kind in the world, spanning the history of the Williams F1 team since 1978

READ MORE
Gift Vouchers

READ MORE
Activities

A wide range of activities are available at the Williams Conference Centre and can be used for team building and hospitality days or to enhance your events.

READ MORE
Race Day Hospitality

Hosted at the Williams Conference Centre we offer a unique way to view an F1 race, with a review of qualifying, an exclusive live link up to a team member from the track, followed by the race itself

READ MORE
Dining & Celebrations

We not only pride ourselves on the first class facilities and service we offer at the Williams Conference Centre, but also on our 5 star catering. Our in-house caterers offer the highest standard of cuisine, where possible using local organic suppliers and fair-trade produce

READ MORE
Private Dining

As part of the first class facilities and service we offer at the Williams Conference Centre, we pride ourselves on our 5 star catering

READ MORE
Car History

Williams Car History

READ MORE
Guardians Of Honour

Williams has an ever-growing catalogue of illustrious Grand Prix cars. Now Jonathan Williams and Dickie Stanford must dovetail this sumptuous history with the high-flying Formula 1 team of today

READ MORE

GUARDIANS OF HONOUR

Williams has an ever-growing catalogue of illustrious Grand Prix cars. Now these two men must dovetail this sumptuous history with the high-flying Formula 1 team of today Writer Simon Arron, photographer Matthew Howell

The northern end of the A338 is something of a throwback, a reminder that Britain can still be a nice place to drive as it cuts between open countryside, the landscape speckled with pheasants and sheep. Close to Grove, Oxon, a small roundabout interrupts the flow and filters into a smart engineering complex, set back discreetly from the main road. There are no ceremonial placards to tell the wider world what goes on here, nor what has been achieved, but a sign by the roadside reads, very simply, 'Williams F1'.

The Grand Prix team is based here, of course, as are Williams Advanced Engineering and, between them, the Williams Conference Centre, which does what it says on the tin and also houses the family museum – the Williams Collection. For the past year or so, this has been the platform for another new business, Williams Heritage, whose mission is to preserve, showcase, run, sell and service cars from the team's back catalogue. It is overseen by Jonathan Williams, Sir Frank's son, and Dickie Stanford, who first joined the company 30 years ago and has since served as chief mechanic and F1 team manager, among other things.

The main exhibition hall is notable for its striking ambience, darkness prevailing but subtle spotlights picking out many a purposeful line. At the time of our visit, only one car stood apart from the F1 silhouettes, an ex-Alain Menu Renault Laguna that Williams Touring Car Engineering once ran in the BTCC. There is much more to this, however, than the display area.

"The museum houses what we call our 'prime' cars," Williams says. "There are 123 chassis on the books at present – we sold about 10 last year – and the company owns 120. We are custodians of the other three, although one of those [not on view] is an Earth Dreams Honda F1 car from 2008…"

Stanford elaborates: "It belongs to Rubens Barrichello, but he has yet to pick it up. He asked us to collect it from the Honda/Brawn factory and store it for him, which we did, but now he needs to pay for it to be freighted to Brazil. We're still waiting…"

Although the Williams F1 tale began with Frank Williams Racing Cars, in 1969, there is nothing here that pre-dates 1978, when Patrick Head's first Williams Grand Prix Engineering chassis, the FW06, was launched.

"I recall Bobby Rahal sending my dad a note," Williams says, "telling him that an ex-Piers Courage Brabham BT26 was coming on the market and wondering whether he'd be interested. But he said, 'For this museum, it's the Patrick Head cars onwards. The earlier stuff is part of my history, but I don't want it in a museum that should represent where Patrick and I started'. He has been very consistent on that.

"At Goodwood in 2009, though, there were two 40th anniversary celebrations – one for my father's time in F1 and the other for the Porsche 917. It had never occurred to me that the two things coincided! The Goodwood team sourced a few older cars with Williams associations and there was a De Tomaso 505 among them. Dad was being wheeled around, stopped by the De Tomaso and said, 'Wow, that's so pretty. I haven't seen one of those since the early 1970s'. I thought it would be a difficult car for him, because of its association with Piers' fatal accident at Zandvoort, but it really caught his attention and he even mentioned that he'd quite like to own it, which threw me, although the idea was never pursued."

In relatively recent times, the only obvious interloper in the collection was an ex-Alain Prost 641, from 1990. "In its own way," Williams says, "even that was part of our history. We'd signed a contract to run Jean Alesi in 1991, then Ferrari made a fairly late bid for him because Nigel Mansell had unexpectedly announced his retirement at Silverstone.

"Dad did once say that he'd like to dedicate a small corner of the museum to our competitors' cars – a Piquet Brabham BT49, a McLaren MP4/2 and so on. That was his thinking at the time, so the 641 was part of our settlement with Ferrari. I think we got some money, but we also got the car. We had it for 12 years. It was fully operational – and even went back to Italy for a complimentary service – but we eventually sold it on. It was becoming too much of a star attraction in what was supposed to be a Williams museum, simply because it was so distinctive."

With a set amount of space and an inventory that will but grow in future years, the museum is likely to become thematic, with a rotating cast and areas set aside for the company's non-F1 projects, such as the aforementioned Laguna, the Le Mans-winning BMW V12 LMR of 1999 and the MG Metro 6R4. In F1 terms, though, the post-Head collection is complete.

"We have at least one of everything from the FW06 to the FW36," Williams says, "and hopefully in a year or so we'll get a very good FW37. We even have cars that didn't race, most notably the FW08B six-wheeler and also the FW15D, a passive version of the C that was used for testing early in 1994, prior to the arrival of the FW16. That was a Senna test car, although it was quite well used by the time he arrived in January 1994. It had been fettled around Prost and Hill, but Senna used a bigger steering wheel and his hands began rubbing on the cockpit sides. During testing, the factory gave permission for a travelling composites technician to make a small adjustment to the cockpit surround."

Stanford adds: "The modification was tiny and we were all wondering whether it was actually worth it, but it did the trick."

Not only are the cars present and correct, then, but most of them are still operational – despite obvious hurdles such as software obsolescence. Readers with long memories might recall a Motor Sport feature from five years ago, when Damon Hill's Williams FW18 cut out during the F1 world championship's 60th anniversary celebration in Bahrain. At the time, Stanford and his team were unable to interrogate the chassis because their MS-DOS laptop was on the blink and nobody at the circuit knew how to fix it.

"Happily," Stanford says, "there is now a company that can take a modern laptop and convert it to run older software such as MS-DOS. In that particular incident with Damon and the FW18, we pulled the fuel tank to bits that night and then realised the problem had in fact been a consequence of running too high a gear at too few revs, which the Renault alternator didn't like. After we put it all back together, we told him to use low gears with high revs and the problem went away…"

Williams: "It was pretty much what happened to Nigel Mansell at Montréal on the final lap in 1991. He was trundling around a first-gear hairpin in third, waving to the crowd, and the Renault alternator couldn't keep up. The car fired up perfectly in the garage after being towed back, which made it all the more painful."

Some cars are likely to remain ever static – there aren't enough parts to run the Honda-powered FW09 or FW10, for instance, but Williams Heritage retains two Honda engines and can operate an FW11. "The FW14B's active systems still work, too," Stanford says. "In fact we got it up and running not so long ago."

Williams: "Yes, up, running and stalling – although it was an engine problem rather than anything to do with the active ride."

Stanford: "It turned out that we had a Ligier-spec engine, which we didn't know at the time. Their V10s were the same as ours, but once up and running the engine was looking for Ligier electronics that we didn't have. Sorting that out is a future project."

Williams: "It was just one of those things. We were due three engines from Renault and obviously nobody noticed that one was originally from a Ligier – we didn't find that out until 2012! We were attempting some straight-line running and the same thing happened twice, once with Valtteri Bottas and once with Karun Chandhok. It would be fine in first gear, then they'd select second and you'd hear brr-brr-brr followed by silence as it coasted to a halt. It wasn't so much powered by Renault back then as by a Land Rover Discovery, which we kept using to tow it back."

Rest assured, though, that the car will run again. The intention is to operate the fleet at as many suitable events as possible – the Goodwood Festival of Speed is an obvious destination – albeit purely on a demonstration basis.

"These cars were designed to run at a very high limit," Williams says, "but when you run at the kind of level heritage operations require, they are actually relatively simple. If you bring them back from the threshold of trying to hustle around Silverstone in 1min 20sec, or whatever, and say 'Let's try to get around Silverstone in 1min 50sec', they become quite user-friendly."

There are sound reasons for not wanting to see the cars returning to full competitive mode.

"We've just turned down a trip to Suzuka with the FW18," Stanford says, "because from the information we'd seen it was clear the event was likely to turn into some kind of race – and obviously we don't want to risk damage to Damon's title-winning car.

"All the cars in our collection are special and we don't want to have to repair a monocoque. They are as they were at the end of their racing careers, although they have been cleaned and rebuilt."

That brings us to FW19/4, individually the most successful of all the team's chassis. "Jacques Villeneuve used it from the second race of 1997 all the way through to the seasonal finale at Jerez," Williams says. "He used the same car to take all but one of his poles, all his wins and every point that counted towards that title. It's also the car with which Michael Schumacher got physical in Jerez. You can still see the dents the Ferrari's wheel left. There was a rumour that we'd left the tyre mark on it and that a diligent cleaner removed it two years later, but…"

Stanford: "There was a tyre mark, but it had already been cleaned off when the car left the track. The period scuff around the air intake is still there, though."

The idea for Williams Heritage came about because cars in the collection weren't really doing a great deal. "From time to time a car would be packed off to Goodwood or wherever," Stanford says, "then we thought, 'Hang on. We've got all these assets, with engines, so why don't we get them out there?'"

Williams acknowledges the input of the firm's CEO Mike O'Driscoll and says, "Mike has been here two years and has a very good grasp of heritage. He saw value in the team's past endeavours and that gave us quite a strong platform, because it's not as though we've been in the championship for a decade and have enjoyed a couple of good seasons. We've been around for 40-odd years, with 16 championship titles, 114 wins as I speak and, as of 2014, we were a top-three team once again. We felt there was something to pursue. The budgets for such things are a bit chicken and egg: you can't throw money at it from the start but have to build up as you go along."

Stanford: "We have to prove that we can make it a profitable business before we evolve."

For now, that means borrowing spare mechanics from the factory on the far side of the car park – those who work on the current F1 chassis but don't travel to Grands Prix – but in time Williams Heritage hopes to employ its own. That doesn't mean, though, that new 'old' Williams models will suddenly enter the market – it's simply part of the process to service what already exists.

"The only exception," Williams says, "is an ex-Carlos Reutemann FW07C tub we still have, where feasibly we could make up a new car around an original chassis. I can't see us building anything else."

Stanford adds, "We have drawings and it would be quite easy to take a mould from an old set of FW07 bodywork, because unlike modern cars they are not difficult shapes. We'd have to go to a fibreglass specialist, though, because we no longer have any of those at the factory!"

The entry-level to Williams ownership? It's probably an ex-show car, one that has been stripped down at the end of its racing life and lightened as much as possible to save freight costs during a worldwide tour of shopping malls. "You might find such a car that was driven by somebody like Juan Pablo Montoya," Williams says. "It will have a podium finish under its belt: it won't have an engine or gearbox, and the pedals might be missing, but it is the real thing."

The Williams store rooms are, predictably, a frequent source of intrigue.

"We come across lots of things that make you think, 'That caused us aggro' or, 'Those were good – we stuck them on and they stayed'," Stanford says. "I was looking for some BMW hydraulics recently and came across two complete valve blocks for the FW23, still in their protective wrapping. They'd been machined, put in the stores and then never touched. The amount of work that had gone into making them…"

Such things come as more of a surprise to folk from beyond the factory gates than they do to those within. "We had some clients here not long ago," Williams says, "and one had worked on the design side with two now-defunct F1 teams. He was very impressed with our physical inventory. Where he'd worked, everything simply used to get binned.

"We have a good recollection of procedures and also still have technicians who were very important to our programme in the 1990s. They remain so now. We don't have the means or resources to run an FW15C in the same way that we did in 1993, perhaps, but with our expertise and operational hardware we can operate it in a way that doesn't compromise its integrity.

"Do we have every part from every drawing that has been drafted since WGPE was formed in 1977? No we don't, but I reckon we have about 95 per cent…"

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/