The Williams-Honda FW11 won nine of 1986 season’s 16 World Championship Grands Prix, securing the Championship for the Anglo-Japanese partnership. This was a logical development of the FW10/10B which won four races in 1985, although outwardly displaying a very much sleeker, lower profile thanks to the recent regulation change reducing the fuel capacity maximum from 220-litres to 195-litres at the start of season.
Honda developed the ‘F’ version of its 80-degree RA163 V6 twin-turbocharged engine to a superb pitch at which its ability to produce competitive power-versus-fuel economy proved more than a match for most of its rivals. Boost pressure, ignition and fuel injection functions were all controlled and monitored by a host of microprocessing equipment while the in-race performances of both Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet could be controlled and monitored not only by pit-to-car radio, but also a telemetry system which permitted the pit-based engineers to watch the instrument read-outs during the race.
The Honda V6 operated with four cockpit adjustable boost settings, transmitted its power through a six-speed gearbox and ran with carbon brake discs manufactured by the French SEP organisation. An Automotive Products double disc system was also tested, but only raced once (briefly) on Mansell’s FW11 in Brazil.
Design of the moulded carbon/Kevlar/aluminium composite chassis was aided by the installation of a General Electric CALMA computer-aided design/manufacture system which was installed at the Williams team’s Didcot factory at the end of 1985. As mentioned in last month’s MOTOR SPORT, the double wishbone suspension all-round worked in conjunction with inboard coil spring/damper units activated by push-rods. Water/oil radiators and intercoolers are mounted symmetrically in each side pod ahead of the turbochargers and the rear bodywork was sharply waisted in ahead of the rear wheels for added aerodynamic efficiency.