By Andrew Hooper
May 20 2002
|Williams Team History 1989-96|
1989 Williams was able to secure the use of Renault engines. Patrick
Head, the team's Technical Director, designed the FW13 chassis
specifically to house the new Renault engine and Belgian driver, Thierry
Boutsen, joined the team in 1989, replacing Nigel Mansell and partnering
Riccardo Patrese. This proved a popular and successful choice, and at a
very wet Canadian Grand Prix he scored his very first Grand Prix win and
also the first for the new Williams Renault partnership.
Boutsen also went on to notch up his second victory at the final race of the year in Adelaide, again in atrocious weather conditions. It was also a great year for Patrese. He appeared on the rostrum six times, led several races, finished third in the Drivers' World Championship and helped the team to runner-up spot in the Constructors' World Championship.
got off to a good start with Boutsen third in his Williams-Renault FW13B
in Phoenix and then, at the third race of the year, the San Marino Grand
Prix, there was a fairytale story with Patrese winning his third Grand
Prix; his previous victory had been seven years earlier. Boutsen's turn
came in Hungary where he claimed his first ever pole position and went
on to win an impressive green light to chequered flag victory. These two
wins and several other podium placing's meant at the end of the season
the team finished fourth in the Constructors' World Championship.
Halfway through the 1990 season Mansell, who subsequently won 28 Grands Prix for Williams, announced his retirement after a disappointing British Grand Prix whilst driving for Ferrari. The Williams team persuaded him to change his mind and he re-signed for the team for whom he had won more Grands Prix than any other driver and this was announced on the 1st October.
The 1991 Williams team proved a winning combination, with Mansell scoring five and Patrese two victories. The team proved the only real competition to McLaren and were runners-up to them in both the Constructors' and Drivers' World Championships, with Mansell and Patrese second and third respectively in the latter.
The tide turned in 1992. At the first race in South Africa Mansell and Patrese finished first and second with the Williams-Renault FW14B fitted with active suspension.
continued on to became the first driver to win the opening five races of
a season. His record breaking did not stop there and he became the first
driver to win nine races in one season and to be on pole 14 times. His
win at the British Grand Prix was his 28th, beating Jackie Stewart's
record for the British driver with the most Grand Prix victories.
the third Grand Prix of the year at Imola in Italy Ayrton Senna was
killed while leading the race when his car left the circuit at the
notorious Tamburello corner and crashed into a concrete wall. The world
of motor racing was stunned and the close-knit Williams team was
shattered by the tragic death of the driver who many people regarded as
simply the best. The fight back of the Williams team typified the
bravery and leadership of Frank. As a mark of respect the team only ran
one car for Hill in Monaco and then four weeks after that tragic day in
Imola, Hill won the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and promptly
dedicated his victory to both Ayrton and the team.
this race Hill was partnered by David Coulthard, who drove car No. 2 for
eight of the remaining races. For the other four races in France, Spain,
Japan and Australia Nigel Mansell came back from the USA, where he was
racing in the Indy Car series. After the win in Barcelona, Hill scored
another five victories but lost the championship by a single point to
Michael Schumacher following a controversial collision at the last race
in Adelaide, which was eventually won by Mansell. In such a tragic year
it was testimony to the strength of the team that they retained the
Constructors' World Championship, to close a season that will never be
|In 1996 the team said goodbye to Damon who had been with them as a test and racing driver for six years, Elf who had been supplying fuel and oil for eight years, and in August Renault announced that 1997 would be its last season in Formula One.|