From time to time I’ve been asked by fans of Grand Prix Legends – the computer race driving game – if I have any details of modern-era Formula 1 car technical set-ups. I was able to supply some data from the original set-up sheets for assorted BRM and Lotus F1 cars, but not every tattered document one finds from the team archives relates to a significant race.
I’m unashamed to admit that I have long been a Williams fan, ever since Frank first ran his Formula 1 Brabham BT26 for Piers Courage in 1969. A while ago I fell heir to a few examples of Williams Grand Prix Engineering team data, and among them I found the ‘green form’ set-up sheet for the car in which the late Clay Regazzoni scored the team’s maiden World Championship-round victory, in the 1979 British GP at Silverstone.
Clay’s car that day was Williams ‘FW07/02’, powered by Cosworth-Ford DFV engine ‘228’. For the GPL fetishists, the car was rolled out on 11-inch wide front wheel rims and 18-inch rears. Its front suspension was set up with zero degrees toe-in and castor angle, but while the left-front wheel had ¾-degree negative camber, the right-front had ½-deg neg. Front ride-height was just 2¾ inches. The rear suspension had 30 minutes toe-in, while the left-rear wheel camber was set at ½-degree negative in contrast to the right-rear wheel’s zero setting. Rear ride height was 3¼ inches. Having set up his car to provide the bite and traction he preferred around Silverstone, Clay then ran matching ¾-inch diameter 16-gauge anti-roll bars front and rear, set to ‘full soft’ front and ‘full stiff’ rear. Front springs were rated at 800lbs, rears at 950. The nose wings were set at 2-degrees incidence, and the rear wing at “Hole 6 + ½-inch flap”.
Indefatigable Clay started the race from ‘P3’ and his times were remarkably consistent, mostly in the 1min 15sec. Having started with 37 gallons of fuel, the crew removed just two gallons post-race. Fuel consumption for the winning 1298lbs of Williams FW07 had been 5.86mpg, oil consumption eight pints, and Clay had left the tachometer tell-tale at 11,050rpm. So there you go – everything you never wanted to know about the first Williams World Championship GP win…