Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Williams Grand Prix team, should you have any more then e-mail [email protected] and we will do our best to answer them.
- How can I contact the team?
- Is it possible to visit the factory?
- Why was Nigel Mansell dropped after winning the 1992 championship?
- Why was Alain Prost dropped after winning the 1993 championship?
- Why is there a Ferrari in the Williams Grand Prix Collection?
- What has been Williams’ worst season?
- What’s Williams connection with the Metro 6R4?
- Why was Damon Hill dropped after winning the 1996 championship?
- How many races have Williams won?
1) Why was Nigel Mansell dropped after winning the 1992 championship?
When Alain Prost was sacked by Ferrari so late in the 1991 season there were no top drives left available to him. Prost contemplated buying Liger but that came to nothing and by the summer he was under contract to Williams for 1993. An announcement was made at the 1992 Portuguese Grand Prix. Williams’ intention was to have Prost and Mansell as it’s line-up for 1993 but Mansell objected to losing his number one status and so left to go to IndyCar.
A heated debate then ensued with Williams receiving hate mail with the British press (most notably and not surprisingly the Sun) stirring it up too. An amicable solution was reached when the (British) Damon Hill was promoted from test driver.
Alain Prost was to find himself in the same situation twelve months later when Senna was employed for the 1994 season.
2) Why was Alain Prost dropped after winning the 1993 championship?
Dropped is probably not, strictly speaking, the correct word to use in either Post or Mansells case. Prost chose not to stay on for the next season which would have meant having Senna for his team mate. The same basic reasons as Mansell the year before. (See Q1).
3) Why is there a Ferrari in the Williams Grand Prix Collection?
Jean Alesi burst onto the grand Prix scene with Tyrell in 1989 and a full season in 1990 put Alesi on the top teams shopping lists. Williams, for once, were quick off the mark and signed Alesi up early in 1990. Unfortunately Alesi also signed for Ferrari. Alesi decided that he wanted to go to Ferrari and so he had to get out of his contract with Williams. A deal was negotiated involving money and Alain Prosts’ 1990 Ferrari going to Williams, the intention being to strip it down to see what made it tick. Unfortunately, Patrick Head, commented, it was a complete waste of time – they should have asked for an extra £1m instead. And so a Ferrari is in the Williams Grand prix collection, Alesi meanwhile maybe wishes that he had gone to Williams instead of the car!
A toss up between 1988 and 1994. On a personal level 1994 must rank as the worst with the loss of Ayrton Senna. A personal favourite of Frank Williams, Senna was given his first F1 test with Williams and discussed signing on a number of occasions. It was obvious to see Frank Williams’ delight when in late ’93 Sennas signing was announced, by Imola ’94 Senna had scored not a single point and what should have been a glorious season turned to disaster on lap 7.
1988 was a different matter entirely. After riding high in 1987 Honda pulled the plug and took their engines to McLaren. No wins and a disillusioned Mansell chucked in the towel and went to Ferrari.
5) What’s the connection between Williams and the Metro 6R4?
The Rover Metro 6R4 was a big, butch rally car with a massive V8 shoehorned into the back of it and it was designed by Williams. In the early 80s, at the height of the FISA – FOCA wars, it looked as if F1 would self-destruct leaving Williams and all other Grand Prix teams with no job. Around this time Rover approached Williams to turn the Metro into a race winning rally car, an impossible task one might have thought. The time was right and so Williams took-up the challenge and, a year later, delivered a car which went on to win many races. A Metro 6R4 is on display at the Williams collection.
6) Why was Damon Hill dropped after winning the 1996 championship?
Williams seem to be making it a habit to drop their world champions. Their lack of affection with drivers champions may stem from the fact that Williams Grand Prix Engineering’s major objective each year is to win the constructor’s championship.
As with Mansell and Prost, we will probably never know what the real reason for Hill being dropped but there were many rumours. These included that he asked for too much money, discounted by both Hill and Frank Williams. Another reason put about was that Michael Bream, Hills Solicitor, put the teams collective backs out, possible, though surely not likely. The most likely reason seems to be that Damon, in the eyes of the team, didn’t posses the “killer” instinct that was required to take on Michael Schumacher, as he proved in 1995 and chose to go with Heinz-Harald Frentzen instead. Will he be next?
As at the 1997 British Grand Prix the team had won exactly 100 races from 371 starts. A win ratio of 1 in 3.7, higher than either of their nearest rivals, Ferrari (111 wins from 579 starts – 1 in 5) and McLaren (104 from 452 starts – 1 in 4.3). Check out 100 Wins for more details.
The team can be contacted by writing to the factory. Alternatively you could try telephoning or faxing the relevant number. All the details are on the contact page.
Please note that it is NOT possible to e-mail the team.
The factory and museum are not open to the general public. However during the 1998 season Williams offered packages that included a trip round the museum and the chance to watch a race with other Williams fans. The cost of this was in the region of £250 per person for a minimum of four people. Contact Williams directly to see if this is to be continued.