THE car that ushered in a new Formula 1 tech war is up for auction, and ready for track use.
Designed by one of racing’s greatest minds, Adrian Newey, the Williams FW14B is considered one of the most technologically advanced, and successful, cars to compete in F1.
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Bonhams is set to auction one of the six FW14B chassis’ at the July Goodwood Festival of Speed, with the car estimated to fetch £3 million (A$5.4 million) when it goes under the hammer.
But what makes this particular car so special? Well, not only is this chassis in full working order, it was driven in seven of that year’s 16 grands prix by Nigel Mansell on the way to the ’92 world championship, winning five races.
Mansell ended up claiming the F1 drivers’ title with five rounds remaining, with Autosport awarding the FW14B its Racing Car of the Year gong in 1992.
Newey’s creation was powered by a 3.5-litre V10 Renault engine, but it was the gearbox, suspension, and aerodynamics that really allowed it to dominate the competition.
It utilised a semi-automatic transmission (which was cutting edge for the time), along with active suspension, traction control and anti-lock brakes.
At the 1992 British Grand Prix Mansell qualified on pole, two seconds clear of his teammate Riccardo Patrese, who in turn was another second quicker ahead of third-placed Ayrton Senna.
It wasn’t unusual for the Williams duo to dash to a large lead in just a couple of laps during races.
The FW14B, and its follow-up, the FW15C, prompted a technological arms race in Formula 1, that hasn’t ceased since.
So successful was the FW14B that its successor the FW15 was ready for competition midway through 1992, but was never used.
In total the FW14 and FW14B won a combined 17 grands prix, claimed 21 pole positions and notched up 289 points.