FW08

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 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.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. 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. The FW08 was Frank Dernie's favourite car of all those he worked on during his time with the team.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. Jacques Laffite rejoined the team, having started his F1 career with Frank Williams Racing Cars back in 1974. 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.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.

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

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Results

YearRoundCountryDriverGrid PosFinish PosResult
19821South African Grand PrixKeke Rosberg75Finished
19821South African Grand PrixCarlos Reutemann82Finished
19822Brazilian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg312Disqualified
19822Brazilian Grand PrixCarlos Reutemann619Collision
19823United States Grand Prix WestKeke Rosberg82Finished
19823United States Grand Prix WestMario Andretti1420Collision
19825Belgian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg32Finished
19825Belgian Grand PrixDerek Daly1311Spun off
19826Monaco Grand PrixKeke Rosberg611Collision
19826Monaco Grand PrixDerek Daly86Gearbox
19827Detroit Grand PrixKeke Rosberg34Finished
19827Detroit Grand PrixDerek Daly125Finished
19828Canadian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg713Gearbox
19828Canadian Grand PrixDerek Daly137Out of fuel
19829Dutch Grand PrixKeke Rosberg73Finished
19829Dutch Grand PrixDerek Daly125+1 Lap
198210British Grand PrixKeke Rosberg114Fuel system
198210British Grand PrixDerek Daly105Finished
198211French Grand PrixKeke Rosberg105Finished
198211French Grand PrixDerek Daly117+1 Lap
198212German Grand PrixKeke Rosberg93+1 Lap
198212German Grand PrixDerek Daly1914Engine
198213Austrian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg62Finished
198213Austrian Grand PrixDerek Daly924Collision
198214Swiss Grand PrixKeke Rosberg81Finished
198214Swiss Grand PrixDerek Daly79+1 Lap
198215Italian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg78+2 Laps
198215Italian Grand PrixDerek Daly1324Collision
198216Caesars Palace Grand PrixKeke Rosberg65Finished
198216Caesars Palace Grand PrixDerek Daly146+1 Lap
19831Brazilian Grand PrixJacques Laffite183Finished
19831Brazilian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg115Disqualified
19832United States Grand Prix WestJacques Laffite44+1 Lap
19832United States Grand Prix WestKeke Rosberg323Collision
19833French Grand PrixJacques Laffite196+1 Lap
19833French Grand PrixKeke Rosberg165+1 Lap
19834San Marino Grand PrixJacques Laffite167+1 Lap
19834San Marino Grand PrixKeke Rosberg114+1 Lap
19835Monaco Grand PrixJacques Laffite89Gearbox
19835Monaco Grand PrixKeke Rosberg51Finished
19836Belgian Grand PrixJacques Laffite116Finished
19836Belgian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg95Finished
19837Detroit Grand PrixJacques Laffite205Finished
19837Detroit Grand PrixKeke Rosberg122Finished
19838Canadian Grand PrixJacques Laffite1317Gearbox
19838Canadian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg94Finished
19839British Grand PrixJacques Laffite2012+2 Laps
19839British Grand PrixKeke Rosberg1311+2 Laps
198310German Grand PrixJacques Laffite156+1 Lap
198310German Grand PrixKeke Rosberg1210+1 Lap
198311Austrian Grand PrixJacques Laffite2419Vibrations
198311Austrian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg158+2 Laps
198312Dutch Grand PrixJacques Laffite1720Handling
198312Dutch Grand PrixKeke Rosberg2315Ignition
198313Italian Grand PrixJacques Laffite028Did not qualify
198313Italian Grand PrixKeke Rosberg1611+1 Lap
198314European Grand PrixJonathan Palmer2513+2 Laps
198314European Grand PrixJacques Laffite029Did not qualify
198314European Grand PrixKeke Rosberg1620Engine
198315South African Grand PrixJacques Laffite1025Spun off
198315South African Grand PrixKeke Rosberg65+1 Lap