For sale: Mansell’s F1 championship-winning Williams FW14B

by Graham Keilloh on 6th February 2019

The classic and dominating ‘Red Five’ 1992 Williams FW14B F1 car is heading to auction at Goodwood

Few British Formula 1 drivers have captured the popular imagination like Nigel Mansell, as the ‘Mansell mania’ frenzy at several British Grands Prix attested.

While few F1 cars ever, even more than a quarter century on, have been as crushing or as sophisticated as the Williams FW14B which Mansell took to his only F1 drivers’ world championship in 1992.  

And the very car in which Mansell completed a major part of his dominant title year is going to auction by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed sale on July 5 this year. We understand that the Williams FW14B could go for around £3 million.

Mansell’s solitary F1 crown was overdue too, as it came in his last full season in F1 – when Mansell was pushing 40 – by which point he had finished runner-up in the table three times. But such was Mansell’s dominance in 1992 it was as if he was making up for lost time.

The FW14B was a classic too, striding markedly ahead of the rest in its sophisticated systems such as active suspension, a semi-automatic paddle shift gearbox and traction control. Many of these features were banned for the 1994 season, so the FW14B remains, even now, one of the most advanced cars to have competed in F1.


More: Mansell's perfect ride


And harnessed with ‘Red Five’ Mansell’s as ever forceful driving Williams-Renault ended McLaren-Honda’s run of four world championship doubles and empathically, as Mansell clinched his drivers’ crown a whole five races before the end of the season.

He also set a new record of nine grand prix wins in a season. And this all was up against an opposition that included none other than Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

Mansell drove the car going under the hammer in seven of the 16 grands prix in 1992, and in it he had an astonishing rate of success of five wins and a second place. The car was then passed onto Mansell’s team-mate Riccardo Patrese to take part in six rounds with it, helping him to runners-up spot in the final table behind Mansell.

In total this car took part in 13 of 1992’s grands prix and as well as Mansell’s five wins it was put on pole seven times. It has remained a favourite ever since, with Karun Chandhok track-testing a FW14B for Motor Sport in 2017

This car has also been painstakingly well-preserved since, initially by Williams and subsequently by a single private owner, and it means the car survives today in running order. Both its V10-cylinder engine and the sophisticated hydraulic active-suspension system have been put into use in recent weeks.

Let's just hope we see it out on track again in the future, and not in a static display...

 

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