During the late 1960s through to the 1980s, Frank Williams was what Enzo Ferrari referred to as a “garagiste” a mere assembler of components in an effort to enter F1. On occasions his orders for cars from outside manufacturers would have the words “build from as many second hand components as possible” written on the build sheets. Indeed after one practise session shunt, Frank’s March chassis was seen to be a much older “tub” that had not only been used, but had once been bright orange, and rumoured to have been the one that Vittorio Brambilla had managed to hit the Armco with, while celebrating his only win in the pouring rain, in Austria.
In the really good old days, when Frank entered Piers Courage, first in a blue Brabham, and then the ill fated De Tomaso 505, and later entered various drivers in the Iso-Marlboro, his cars carried an arrow motif, with the words “Frank Williams Racing” on it, and Powered by a Cosworth V8, the ubiquitous DFV. This week the Williams hit the tracks in testing, once again blue, once again carrying the Frank Williams Racing arrow, and once more powered by a Cosworth V8.
The Grove-based squad completed three days of testing at Barcelona this week, fielding a pair of hybrid FW27C chassis fitted with the latest Cosworth V8 and now on Bridgestone tyres.
Although the team failed to make a huge impression on the timesheets, by the final day Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg were fourth and eighth fastest respectively, enough to put a smile on the face of Sam Michael, well nearly. Not noted as one of life’s smilers, he did declare himself delighted with progress.
“This week was a fantastic first test for the new Williams, Cosworth and Bridgestone partnership and it is a great credit to everybody in Grove and Northampton to have been able to conduct such a thorough first test together,” Michael said. “Although we experienced the normal teething problems, the mileage we’ve achieved and the progress we’ve made on set-up and understanding the tyres and how the car responds to the V8 has been really good.”
Aussie, Mark Webber described the test as “an encouraging start” but added; “we haven’t even scratched the surface with Bridgestone yet in terms of the philosophy of their tyres in comparison with Michelin”.
Williams will continue its testing programme at Jerez in southern Spain next week, hoping that they can achieve something in 2006, that Frank Williams did in the 1980s, start winning, and with a Cosworth V8.
Daily F1 News