Williams is certainly one of Method 1’s most legendary and best-loved groups. Its current struggles have been well-documented however final yr’s buyout by Dorilton Capital and announcement that the Williams household is stepping apart might herald the beginning of its revival.
Forward of the launch of the crew’s 2021 challenger, Autosport determined to pick the perfect Williams F1 machines since Patrick Head’s first automotive for the then new Williams Grand Prix Engineering concern in 1978.
For this checklist we thought of every automotive’s success, how progressive it was and the way cool we predict it’s.
10. Williams-Ford FW06
Drivers’ titles: 0
Constructors’ titles: 0
It did not win a race however the FW06 is a key automotive within the historical past of the crew. It marked the beginning of the Frank Williams/Patrick Head period, outlined by a sensible and no-nonsense method.
The Cosworth DFV-powered machine was a comparatively typical design, nevertheless it was neat, well-balanced and proved surprisingly speedy within the palms of former Shadow driver Alan Jones. Usually not a match for the ground-effect Lotus 79 and the Michelin-shod Ferrari 312T3 in 1978, Jones supplied some hints of issues to come back within the solo entry.
He charged to second earlier than a misfire at Lengthy Seaside and completed second at Watkins Glen after qualifying third. Jones’s performances satisfied Head and Williams that he was manufactured from the ‘proper stuff’ and the automotive confirmed that the crew wanted to be taken critically.
9. Williams-Honda FW10
12 months: 1985
Drivers’ titles: 0
Constructors’ titles: 0
It was clear by 1983 that Williams wanted turbo energy and it obtained it with Honda. The 1984 FW09 was one thing of a handful, however the Head/Frank Dernie FW10 was significantly better, helped by a brand new engine.
Keke Rosberg received two races, however the Finn’s most well-known 1985 second was his gorgeous 160.9mph pole place lap at Silverstone, set with a gradual puncture. That lap would stand as F1’s quickest pole for 17 years.
New signing Nigel Mansell additionally scored his first world championship grand prix victory with the FW10 at Manufacturers Hatch, spherical 14 of 16, then received subsequent trip in South Africa.
It was sufficient to spice up Williams from sixth in 1984 to 3rd within the constructors’ championship – and Autosport readers voted the FW10 the Racing Automobile of the 12 months.
8. Williams-Renault FW16
12 months: 1994
Drivers’ titles: 0
Constructors’ titles: 1 (1994)
The unloved FW16 might be probably the most notorious of all Williams racers, provided that Ayrton Senna died on the wheel of 1 on the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, nevertheless it nonetheless must be on this checklist.
The banning of ‘gizmos’ that Williams had change into so adept at, equivalent to lively suspension and traction management, put the crew on the again foot for 1994. The rise of Michael Schumacher and Benetton, and the occasions at Imola, made for a tricky season however each Williams and new crew chief Damon Hill rallied.
Enhancements to the FW16, notably shortened sidepods and revised wings, culminated within the automotive being designated the FW16B from the German GP in July.
A mixture of Hill elevating his recreation, penalties for Schumacher and the improved automotive helped Williams retain its constructors’ crown, whereas Hill completed one level behind Schumacher following their controversial Adelaide conflict.
7. Williams-BMW FW25
12 months: 2003
Drivers’ titles: 0
Constructors’ titles: 0
The closest Williams has come to repeating its former glories to date within the twenty first century was when it joined forces with BMW and Michelin within the early 2000s.
The crew did not lead the aerodynamics race, however the mixture of BMW energy, Michelin rubber and fiery line-up of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher usually made it the closest challenger to the all-conquering Ferrari squad.
The FW23 took Williams again to the entrance and scored 4 wins in 2001 – the crew’s first since 1997 – nevertheless it was the FW25 that got here closest to bringing an enormous trophy again to Grove two years later.
After Ferrari’s domination in 2002, one-lap qualifying and a brand new factors system – with simply two factors between first and second as a substitute of 4 – have been launched to boost the present.
Ferrari’s F2003-GA was not as robust as its predecessor and each Williams and McLaren (additionally on Michelin tyres towards Ferrari’s Bridgestones) battled the Italian crew for the title.
After the Hungarian GP, with three rounds to go, simply two factors lined Michael Schumacher, Montoya and McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen, whereas Ralf Schumacher was additionally inside 14 of the highest. And Williams led the constructors’ race.
At that time, nonetheless, Bridgestone noticed one thing with Michelin’s tyres that led to an instantaneous modification to the applying of the foundations – tyre tread could be measured after the race slightly than earlier than, as beforehand. This was to make sure there was no exceeding of the restrict of the utmost tread guidelines, leading to Michelin making modifications.
Michael Schumacher then beat Montoya to pole and victory subsequent trip within the Italian GP, whereas Ralf’s non-start because of a testing crash dropped him out of title rivalry. Then a drivethrough penalty for a conflict with Rubens Barrichello’s Ferrari in america GP ended Montoya’s championship aspirations.
The FW25’s last tally of 4 poles and 4 wins was sufficient for Williams to pip McLaren to second within the desk however, as soon as once more, Ferrari had taken each titles.
6. Williams-Renault FW19
12 months: 1997
Drivers’ titles: 1 (Jacques Villeneuve, 1997)
Constructors’ titles: 1 (1997)
Was this the final nice Williams? The FW19 scored the crew’s final two titles and was the final that might no doubt be described because the quickest F1 automotive of its season.
It was additionally the final Williams design through which Adrian Newey was concerned earlier than he left for McLaren, the ultimate one to put on Rothmans colors and the final to be powered by the profitable line of Renault V10s that stretched again to 1989. It represents the tip of many eras.
Regardless of some dangerous luck, odd choices (slicks at a moist Monaco!) and the occasional mediocre efficiency from Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the FW19 scored 11 poles and eight wins.
Heroics from Michael Schumacher in Ferrari’s F310B took the drivers’ title to the Jerez finale, the place Villeneuve did sufficient regardless of their controversial conflict. Schumacher was then stripped of his second place within the desk, handing Williams its final 1-2.
5. Williams-Honda FW11
Wins: 18 (9 FW11, 9 FW11B)
Drivers’ titles: 1 (Nelson Piquet, 1987)
Constructors’ titles: 1 (1986-87)
Dernie’s FW11 was the automotive that ended McLaren’s reign on the prime of F1 – and it did so regardless of the pre-season street accident that left crew founder Frank Williams preventing for his life.
The fuel-efficient Honda-powered machine received first trip on the 1986 Brazilian GP within the palms of Nelson Piquet. The FW11 received eight of the remaining 15 races and Williams swept to its third constructors’ crown.
There is no doubt the FW11 was the perfect general bundle of the season, however the intra-team battle between Piquet and Mansell – plus the Briton’s notorious Adelaide tyre blowout – allowed McLaren’s Alain Prost to grab the drivers’ crown.
There have been no such errors in 1987. The uprated FW11B took 12 poles (eight for Mansell) and 9 wins as Williams received the constructors’ title by 137 factors to McLaren’s 76.
Following Piquet’s scary Imola crash, Mansell was the dominant power. He received extra races (six) and led twice as many laps as every other driver, however dangerous luck (mainly engine failure whereas main in Monaco and a unfastened wheelnut whereas heading for victory in Hungary) handed Piquet the initiative.
When Mansell was injured throughout qualifying for the Japanese GP and compelled to take a seat out the remainder of the marketing campaign, Piquet was confirmed as champion.
Piquet had additionally embraced the lively (dubbed ‘reactive’ on the time) suspension system earlier than Mansell, having used it to for the primary time to dominate the Italian GP towards Mansell within the passive FW11B.
4. Williams-Ford FW07
Drivers’ titles: 1 (Alan Jones, 1980)
Constructors’ titles: 2 (1980-81)
The FW07 is the automotive the 1979 Lotus most likely ought to have been. Having labored out the secrets and techniques of ground-effects that had allowed the Lotus 79 to dominate in 1978, Head and his crew merely constructed a greater model.
Stiff and lightweight, the FW07 set the tempo as soon as Williams had obtained on prime of the preliminary gremlins. Clay Regazzoni scored the crew’s first world championship race victory within the British GP and Jones reeled off 4 wins within the final six races of 1979.
Having change into the primary Williams to win an F1 race, the FW07 turned the primary to take a title in 1980. Jones beat Brabham’s Piquet to the drivers’ crown with 5 victories, whereas Carlos Reutemann received in Monaco as Williams comfortably took the constructors’ championship.
The FW07, which was developed all through its life, wasn’t the quickest automotive of 1981, nevertheless it and Gordon Murray’s Brabham BT49 have been the perfect. Williams took 4 victories – greater than every other crew – and the constructors’ title, however Piquet beat Reutemann and Jones to drivers’ honours. The Williams duo was not helped by occasional DFV misfires, which led to modifications to the FW07’s gas system.
Keke Rosberg began his profitable 1982 marketing campaign with the automotive earlier than switching to the FW08, an evolution of the FW07 that took two victories.
3. Williams-Renault FW18
12 months: 1996
Drivers’ titles: 1 (Damon Hill, 1996)
Constructors’ titles: 1 (1996)
When it comes to strike price, the 1996 FW18 is the best Williams. It scored 12 wins from 16 races, eight for Hill and 4 for Villeneuve, whereas Michael Schumacher was the one different driver to attain a pole.
The FW18 prolonged the crew’s benefit from the earlier season and Hill raised his recreation, eradicating many of the errors of his 1995 marketing campaign. The opposition was additionally weaker, Schumacher leaving reigning champion Benetton to tackle a brand new problem at Ferrari.
The FW18 wasn’t revolutionary, however solely within the appalling situations of the Spanish GP was Williams crushed in a straight combat in 1996.
At Monaco, Hill was comfortably in management when the Renault engine blew, a pitstop concern allowed Schumacher to beat Villeneuve at Spa, and Hill crashed out of the lead at Monza.
The FW18 lacks the super-cool standing of the highest two on this checklist, however Hill’s favorite F1 automotive deserves to be remembered as one of many nice GP designs.
2. Williams-Renault FW15C
12 months: 1993
Drivers’ titles: 1 (Alain Prost, 1993)
Constructors’ titles: 1 (1993)
When it comes to uncooked tempo, the FW15C is probably the most dominant Williams of all time. It is 1.7% benefit is the fourth largest in world championship historical past and 15 poles from 16 races underlines its standing.
In some respects it represents the head of F1 sophistication earlier than guidelines banned lots of its ‘gizmos’. Energetic suspension, anti-lock brakes and traction management have been simply a few of its options, whereas different improvements, equivalent to repeatedly variable transmission, have been examined earlier than the laws modified.
That the FW15C ‘solely’ received 10 of the 16 races it began was all the way down to a lot of elements. It was not the best automotive to drive and Prost made a lot of errors, together with crashing out of the moist Brazilian GP and leaping the beginning in Monaco, whereas team-mate Hill was in his first season in a frontrunning F1 automotive.
Senna (McLaren) and Michael Schumacher (Benetton) additionally produced some excellent drives, Senna being masterful within the moist at Interlagos and Donington Park, whereas Schumacher held off Prost at Estoril.
McLaren’s MP4/8 improved through the yr and was aggressive sufficient for Senna to win the ultimate two races of 1993 and take the one non-Williams pole on the Adelaide finale, however by then each titles had been wrapped up.
1. Williams-Renault FW14B
12 months: 1992
Drivers’ titles: 1 (Nigel Mansell, 1992)
Constructors’ titles: 1 (1992)
It wasn’t fairly as neat because the FW15C that changed it, however the Newey/Head FW14B was the automotive that launched lots of the technical developments that put Williams away from the remaining. The 1992 automotive was additionally cooler, with its wider rear tyres and ‘crimson 5’ on the entrance of Mansell’s machine.
Mansell was arguably higher suited to the high-commitment method that kind of automotive required than team-mate Riccardo Patrese, Prost or Hill. That maybe helps to clarify why, whereas in 1993 there was the phantasm of a title combat, Mansell clinched the 1992 drivers’ crown with 5 of the 16 races nonetheless to go.
A run of victories in the beginning of the yr have been solely halted by a suspected puncture at round six in Monaco. Mansell crashed battling Senna in Canada, then received the subsequent three races earlier than securing the crown with second in Hungary.
Reliability issues denied Williams in Belgium and Italy, Patrese received in Japan, whereas the season concluded with an unsatisfactory conflict between Senna and Mansell in Australia.
Mansell’s last tally was 9 wins and 14 poles, which included qualifying quickest at Silverstone by 1.919 seconds, the largest margin by way of lap time proportion (2.4%) in world championship historical past.
An amazing-looking, dominant and progressive design, the FW14B is not simply the best Williams, it is one of many biggest F1 automobiles of all time.