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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Williams FW08
Williams FW08 2008 Silverstone Classic.jpg

Pictured in 2008, a Williams FW08.
CategoryFormula One
Designer(s)Patrick Head (Technical Director)
Neil Oatley (Chief Designer)
Frank Dernie (Head of Aerodynamics)
Technical specifications[1][2]
ChassisAluminium honeycomb monocoque
Suspension (front)Double wishbones, coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar
Suspension (rear)Double wishbones, coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar
EngineFord Cosworth DFV, 2,993 cc (182.6 cu in), 90° V8, NA, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
TransmissionHewland FGA 400 5-speed manual
Competition history
Notable entrantsTAG Williams Racing Team
Notable driversRepublic of Ireland Derek Daly
Finland Keke Rosberg
France Jacques Laffite
United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer
Debut1982 Belgian Grand Prix
Constructors' Championships0
Drivers' Championships1 (1982Keke Rosberg)

The Williams FW08 was a Formula One car designed by Frank Dernie, which debuted at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix held at the Zolder circuit. An evolution of the FW07 that it replaced, the car was used by Finnish driver Keke Rosberg to win the 1982 World Drivers' Championship.

The FW08B[3] was a six-wheeled (four driven wheels at the rear and two undriven wheels at the front) variant that originated from the FW07D (also six-wheeled). It never raced. Patrick Head specifically said that the reason it was banned was because "someone in a FOCA meeting said it would drive up costs and cause chaos during pitstops". The FIA promptly limited the number of wheels for all cars to four, of which only two may be driven.[4]

The FW08 was a development of the Williams FW07 but featured a shorter wheelbase and much stiffer chassis to cope with the higher g-loading that the minimum ride height regulations introduced in 1981 demanded. While McLaren and others pioneered the use of carbon fibre chassis, Patrick Head stuck to aluminium honeycomb for the new car.[5] The FW08 suited Keke Rosberg's aggressive driving style and he used it to good effect, winning the 1982 Swiss Grand Prix and scoring several other podium places to snatch the championship. Rosberg was on course to win in Belgium on the car's debut but tyre trouble caused him to drop back in the closing stages of the race.[6] The FW08 was Frank Dernie's favourite car of all those he worked on during his time with the team.[7]

The car was updated for the 1983 Formula One season to become the FW08C. Under new regulations all ground effect was out and flat bottom cars were in, meaning nearly all the cars in Formula One had to be heavily modified or replaced and the FW08 was no different. Against the turbo cars of Renault, Brabham and Ferrari, Williams were not expected to do as well as they did.[citation needed] Jacques Laffite rejoined the team, having started his F1 career with Frank Williams Racing Cars back in 1974.[8] Rosberg opened the season with pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix (the last for a Ford-Cosworth DFV powered car) and scored the car's last win, at the 1983 Monaco Grand Prix. He would eventually finish fifth in the Drivers' Championship, while Williams finished 1983 in fourth place, the best of the Cosworth-powered cars.[9]

The FW08C also has the distinction of being the first Formula One car ever driven by Ayrton Senna, at Donington Park in July 1983, after he badgered team boss Frank Williams for a test after being sat beside him on a flight. Senna completed 40 laps and lapped the circuit faster than anyone else had managed in the car, including 1983 race drivers Rosberg and Jacques Laffite. However, Williams team was not able to offer Senna a drive for 1984 as Rosberg and Laffite were under contract and the Brazilian signed to the Toleman team instead. Senna would not drive another Williams until he signed to drive for the team in 1994.[10]

Pictured in 2010, A Williams FW08C. The sidepods are much reduced in comparison to the earlier FW08.
Pictured in 2010, A Williams FW08C. The sidepods are much reduced in comparison to the earlier FW08.

The FW08C was retired after the 1983 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. A third car was actually raced by the team at this race and was driven to 13th place by Jonathan Palmer. It was replaced by the Honda powered FW09 for the last race of the season in South Africa.[11]

Early in 1983, Rosberg drove his FW08C to victory in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. To date this is one of the last non-championship Formula One races that have been held.

In 1985 two FW08C were entered by PMC Motorsport in some races of the Formula 3000 championship, driven by Thierry Tassin and Lamberto Leoni. The results achieved were unremarkable apart from Lamberto Leoni's third place in the Pau street race.

Complete Formula One results

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine Tyres Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Pts. WCC
1982 TAG Williams Racing Team FW08 Cosworth DFV
Keke Rosberg 2 Ret 4 Ret 3 Ret 5 3 2 1 8 5
Derek Daly Ret 6 5 7 5 5 7 Ret Ret 9 Ret 6
1983 TAG Williams Racing Team FW08C Cosworth DFV
Keke Rosberg DSQ Ret 5 4 1 5 2 4 11 10 8 Ret 11 Ret
Jacques Laffite 4 4 6 7 Ret 6 5 Ret 12 6 Ret Ret DNQ DNQ
Jonathan Palmer 13

* 14 points in 1982 scored using the FW07C
* 2 points in 1983 scored by Honda turbo powered Williams FW09


  1. ^ "Williams FW08". Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Williams FW08C". Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  3. ^ Maurice Hamilton (ed.). Autocourse 1983-84. Hazleton Publishing. p. 61.
  4. ^ "Hall of Shame - The VHS vs. BETA Award". F1 Rejects. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Williams F1 - The All Time Greatest Williams Drivers 2". Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  6. ^ "1982 Williams FW08 Cosworth - Images, Specifications and Information". Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Frank Dernie – Williams FW08". 1 October 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Jacques Laffitem". Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Williams FW08". 14 June 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  10. ^ Collantine, Keith (1 July 2012). "Williams FW08C: Senna's first F1 test car". Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Jonathan Palmer : Williams F1 Drivers". Retrieved 4 December 2019.


This page was last edited on 5 March 2021, at 16:32
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