Williams is mourning the loss of is former commercial director Sheridan Thynne, who helped broker many of the team's sponsorship deals in the 1980s

The Williams team’s long-time former commercial director, Sheridan Thynne, has passed away at the age of 71.

Born into the dynasty descending from the Marquis of Bath, Thynne’s aristocratic background sparked an interest in motorsport in 1949. After completing his studies at Eton College and performing his National Service duties, Thynne moved into stockbroking, and spent his free time competing in touring car club events across the United Kingdom.

His first meeting with Frank Williams came in 1962, but it wasn’t until 1979 when he joined the team to leverage his commercial connections to help raise sponsorship backing for the outfit.

Some of his famous deals included British Leyland, ICI, Mobil and Canon, whose stickers adorned the Williams cars over the course of the next decade and more.

He was also instrumental in developing the concept of what is now known as the Paddock Club, a VIP service that the teams use to provide hospitality to their guests at every Grand Prix.

Thynne had a particularly close relationship with Nigel Mansell, who drove for the team between 1985-8 and 1991-2 (plus a smattering of races in 1994). It was a furious Thynne who stormed off with Mansell to the American IndyCar scene when Williams decided to drop the Englishman from its line-up in the year he would become champion.

[Image via LAT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.