WILLIAMS FW14B: ACTION AND REACTION
height in a complex manner by feeding
forward. One of our big gains was
counteracting forces so that the car
stayed flat through the transient of
turn-in. It gave the feeling of a very
strong front end and the driver liked it so
much that we ended up tipping the car
into corners as he turned the wheel; it
banked itself, basically, which also allowed
some different effects with cambers.”
A prototype FW14 active car made its
public debut during practice for the 1991
F1 season finale in Adelaide. Nigel Mansell, a
skeptic due to his struggles with its wayward
forebears of 1983 and ’ 88, completed
16 laps in Friday practice before declaring
it “some way from being competitive as it
stands.” It was still too heavy.
Only after a seven-day test at Estoril in
“We were sure it would work,
Portugal was the system given a green light
to race in 1992, six weeks before the March 1
season opener at Kyalami, South Africa.
A perfect storm was brewing.
“A lot of things had come together all at
once,” says Lowe. “We had the suspension
ready, with all the sophistication, reliability
and understanding we needed. We had,
meanwhile, invented traction control, which
but many weren’t. Patrick
[Head] was very supportive.
He kept the faith”
Active – or, rather, reactive suspension was the headline feature of
1992’s FW14B, but a semi-automatic transmission and traction
control added to its advantage. A slightly longer nose and blisters
to house the front-suspension actuators were the only visual
differences over its “conventional” FW14 predecessor.
WILLIAMS FW14B: LOADED FOR BEAR...
1992 BY THE NUMBERS
Mansell’s nine wins were augmented by one for Riccardo Patrese.
Williams took the constructors’ title with four races to spare.
FIT FOR PURPOSE
Renault’s 3.5-liter, naturally-aspirated RS4 V10 didn’t hold any
advantage over the V12s of Honda
(McLaren) and Ferrari, but was a
reliable and adequately powerful
element in the FW14B package.
WINS POLES FASTEST LAPS
10 of 16
15 of 16
11 of 16
(MAIN) Nigel Mansell
(front left) and his
would DNF after a
flip, while Mansell
cruised to a 37-second
win over Gerhard