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Inside the treasure chest of Williams Formula 1 heritageWilliams has been a staple of motorsport for decades. Carfection took a look inside the heritage centre that contains some of their most important racing cars in history.
[SOUND] [MUSIC] Williams Heritage is really the authority and the responsibility for the collection of our history of nearly 40 years of being a constructor in the World Championship. It's something. To be very proud of the world championships, the race wins, the Who's Who of drivers and personalities that have been the architects of this team, of that success. You're perhaps a little bit spoiled, being able to be shoulder to shoulder with the archive of that on a daily basis, these cars. In a word, it's just a fantastic experience. This collection has all, what we call, the history cars. Down the far end you have Nelson Piquet's World Championship winning car from 86. You have Damon Hill's car from 96. These are the cars they actually won the World Championship in. Jacques Villeneuve's car, that Michal Schumacher run into the side. You know, this is on show here still with the damage in the side. Behind me, Nigel Mansell's world championship winning car, and behind that Alain Prost's world championship car. So anything Williams with main history is in this actual museum. Plus we are now making customer cars and running them for them. You have to take each car as is. It's quite fascinating to actually pull out a car from, say, the early 80s, and then the next minute you pull out a car 2010, 2012. It's probably one of the best jobs in the world. [MUSIC] From as far back as I can remember being involved in racing cars in some ways was it and therefore I paid a lot of attention when I was at school, probably too much attention to motor racing at school cause I wasn't really focusing elsewhere. I played quite a role from the late 90's through to only about three or four years ago in Williams Driver selection policies. But really, in some ways I think when I found a [UNKNOWN] back in the mid-1990's by realizing that essentially what we have is an archive. Nobody really had an overview exactly of where everything was, so I was able to very quickly take that on board as a very Exciting and very, ironically, given that we're dealing with Heritage, it's a very fresh side of our business. We try and keep it quite old school in terms of how we go about things. [MUSIC] Dickey's been. In here for 31 years, so if you trace that back. I was ten years old when he arrived. And my teenage years where I wanted to go to races, I would have to do various jobs. And of course, Dickey would therefore be something I would essentially report to given his position as chief mechanic and team manager for so many years. So to now be on a level with him. I can't quite grasp that because I just see him as such. Sort of an important and pivotal point of what Williams is. I think to a lot of people Dickey is a face of Williams. You obviously have my father and Patrick but if you look at the people beyond my father and Patrick who have been the faces of this team across nearly four decades of competition. Dickey is Right up there. He was made chief mechanic in 1991, and team manager in 1995 and then that concluded in pretty much 2013. So for a majority of that period we were right at the front, so the responsibility of leading and preparing a racing team at that level is huge and I think they couldn't have found anyone better than Dicky to have delivered upon that. I don't think you can really say enough about the role that he played in all his success to Williams and you can already clearly from my point of view see and sense that effect that it's having on William's heritage I mean he arrived well in this role 2014 And he just rolled his sleeves off, and just sorted so much out. The temper at which he was able to sort it all out, was just, it was quite stand back and admire sort of stuff. [MUSIC] I didn't have any training as a mechanic, I got taught by somebody that was a budding racing driver. When I first came into Formula 1, it was just a garage. And everything was around the edge. Now you have to look the part. There's as much going on in the background as what there is on the track nowadays. Incredible really, when you think, let's say back in the 80s, it was an aluminum chassis with an engine bolted on the back, and a gearbox bolted on the back of that. Then you add aerodynamics, then you add turbo engines, then you add full electronic. Now you're into [UNKNOWN] Green 411 is suppose to be high technologies [INAUDIBLE] you find something [INAUDIBLE] you're gonna use it. We have the FW17, which is one of Damon Hills cars from '95, with building this car, it's a solid, it's a full running car. It's taken us probably like 12 weeks, and they've found, we've still got a lot to do to it. Next to it is the FW12, which is the 1990 first Reno engine car. Next to that is Damon Hill's FW15C which is probably one of the most sophisticated cars we've ever built at Williams, because of technical regulations This one is up for sale where we're halfway through getting this car ready and then we have two FW07B's that we're doing full rebuild on. These have been in the William's storage area. Last year we rebuilt an FW13. Now this has been in storage for Since 1990. We literally got it out of storage. We did a full complete rebuild. The engine started after, was it, 30 years. This came together and it's a really nice looking car. So this is probably one of the highlights of taking something that's been in storage for 30 years and And then getting it back on to the track. Racing cars by their very nature of design are complex. All of the cars around us in the heyday represent a cutting edge technology but after decades pass that technology becomes so expensive that it's essentially almost Of the High Street shelf stuff but there are still some complexities, almost some idiosyncrasies in there which sort of leads to problems. The main sort of hurdle that face face are electronics. Especially when those electronics may be partly of the creation therefore the language of whichever engine company we were partnered with at the time So that's one thing that tends to slow us down, is trying to revisit a car 20, 25, 30 years hence and trying to get software to talk to the car. But if you look at them as challenges, you very quickly regain that natural Formula One mentality and just dive in. Sometimes it's difficult. But it does come back to you and we have a very good archive system here. We have about 97% of all the drawings we've ever produced which I can tap into. And we have this collection so cars on buildings for customers and that I can always come in here and have a quick peek and Jog the memory. I've always felt that one of the most important parts of the data of any sort of racing car that really helps us as we try and trace our steps back is the human element, the guys who were actually hands-on with these cars during their Heyday. So to have guys like Dickie, decades of experience on these racing cars, that's a very, very strong asset to have. [MUSIC] My favorite car is the FW14. Most people go for the 14B, but the 14 is my favorite car. It's a car that was very, very difficult to work on in the beginning part of the year We've had a lot of brake time problems with it, that caused me quite a few sleepless nights. And I do mean sleepless nights, working full day and all night in the garage to get ready for the next stage. Going through the year we got on top of the wall of problems and then it turned out to be the fastest car on the track. And I think we won the five races on the [UNKNOWN] of this car. So I have a lot of affection for this car. Also, I think it's probably the prettiest car. I don't like really calling cars pretty, but it's the nicest looking car in the collection. Everybody likes the 14B because of [UNKNOWN] championship But when you're actually putting them side by side, there's a few subtle differences between the two cars and I think the [UNKNOWN] just wins out. If you stand at the front of the car and look head on, just by the top of the suspension, the 14B has like, two ears that stick out, covering the hydraulic struts for the suspension where as the 14A doesn't. And then there's a few little subtle changes around the back end of the car, but looking head on, the 14A to me looks the better car. By the time that Formula One's last turbo charged era concluded, towards the end of the 1980s, Honda were pretty much the benchmark. And I think Williams, it's fair to say, were a big part of the evolution of that. They [UNKNOWN] with this For their early years of turbo, and we had four years with them. By the end, we had a very dominant package and we won championships. But they were very secretive about their technology. And I believe that not many of those turbo engines from that period exist. And it was 12 years, 1999, before two engines actually arrived back here. And that took on the part of my father and Patrick Head Quite a bit of pushing and leaning on Honda to deliver. Running Honda cars from that era are very very rare. And so for us to have persevered for 12 years, and to have secured the engines, and we're still proactive with those two cars, those two engines today. So, and again, important World Championship winning cars from the FW11 era made famous by. [UNKNOWN], so that was a big big thing quite early in my time doing what we now call heritage. There are two somewhat later cars from a personal point of view I'm very fond of What is the date that last Williams to be world champion. 1997 FW 19. Ideally for your heart it's better to go, it's mighty to win world championships the way that Mercedes are winning them now. Where mathematically they're beyond the reach of your opposition by three quarters of the season. Let's say such as we've been a few times but if you actually go into a season finale Pretty much neck and neck and second place isn't good enough. And if you actually prevail through that the sense of achievement is quite overwhelming. To have really come out of a street fight won it, sort of the world championship. But also that was pretty much the first time that my father and Patrick allowed me to Experimental with the young drivers. The first one was allowed to choose drivers to test our cars came with the conclusion of 1997 NSW 19's and one of the drivers that I chose was Juan Pablo [UNKNOWN] so for those reasons that car is very personal to me and then, again, bringing Juan Pablo Montoya back into it, his 2003 moniker winning NSW 25, the BMW powered car For some reason that car just really excites me. It was just a very pretty, very competent, very quick little car. It was one of the few cars in here that probably should have been a world champion and wasn't. Despite all of the success of this team, Monaco generally has always been quite cruel. We've won three races there, the last of which was that Victory for Juan Pablo which sadly is 13 years ago now but prior to that we had 20 year draught but there were many years in between Rotenburg's victory and Juan Pablo's victory where we were gone, when we were 20, 30 seconds up the road. No pit stops and silly things that never broke, they did that day and all month long in Formula One. Only one monitor once. Been on the front row of Monaco so many times, but Monte had got into the lead and that was it. It was very emotional at the end of the race. I think that everything at Williams, we hadn't won it for 23 years, it seems to be a bogey race. We haven't won it since. The previous race in Austria, we'd been leading, but rather sort of a valving problem within the engine presented itself and ultimately lead to a very smoky engine failure. And I think that the NW guys analyzed the data in the last stage in Monaco and said, it's back. And we were telling him to cut revs. And I think he was having to come down to about maybe as low as 17,00 RPM. And that was where [UNKNOWN] was parked right behind him, and he was asking for more revs. We were asking him to cut revs, and the language I think from the cockpit was a touch colorful at that suggestion. He was asking for more, we were saying less. So I do remember that each of the last 20 laps felt Thought like I lost it about five minutes. It was excruciatingly long race, it really, really was. But the satisfaction of winning it was a [APPLAUSE] [SOUND] [MUSIC]