Williams-Ford FW07B

Text and photo: Roman Klemm

For many years, Frank Williams in Formula 1 paid for a hopelessly naive enthusiast who kept his team "afloat" only thanks to the contributions of more or less talented pay-drivers. His status was to change radically with the arrival of sponsors from the Middle East. Since 1978, his cars have been presented by Arab companies such as Saudia, Albilad, Dallah, TAG and Bin Laden. He simply managed to find generous patrons where others had not yet dared to look. His team, which he co-owned and managed with engineer Patrick Head, could now draw on full pockets, and Frank and Patrick were quick to prove to their benefactors that they knew how to do it.
The first joint Williams-Ford FW06 model was able to score points in 1978, the second type FW07 could regularly win Grand Prix in the 1979 season and its evolution Williams FW07B won the world champion title in 1980 with Alan Jones in the cockpit! Head's creation FW07B was not a revolution. He managed to understand the principle of wing-cars perfectly, he looked at the best of the competition (mainly from Chapman's Lotus) and Williams' well-coordinated team took care of the reliability that Jones needed using always fresh Cosworth V8 units. The Williams FW07B made its first appearance in the first race of the season in mid-January 1980 in Argentina with home driver Carlos Reutemann and did not finish. The race was then won by Jones in an older FW07. Since the second race in Brazil, "Béčko" was also available to Jones for the first time. He finished third. The Australian, who had an excellent human understanding with Williams and Head, won in France, Great Britain, Canada and the USA during the year. He finished second in Belgium, Austria and Italy. In a thrilling duel with Nelson Piquet's Brabham, he finally brutally prevailed. Reutemann added victory in Monaco, and the team also enjoyed a first place in the Constructors' Cup.
In 1981, Head built another evolution on bikes, the type FW07C. She was also the absolute top. The season roared with two double triumphs. Carlos Reutemann won in Brazil and Belgium and fought for the title until the last race, which he narrowly lost in the end. Jones won the first and last race of the season, leading to another Constructors' Cup win. The FW07 was last raced in 1982 at Long Beach, where Keke Rosberg finished second.
Frank Williams was even able to monetize his miracle. He sold some FW07B chassis to John MacDonald and he and the RAM team fielded them privately for Rupert Keegan, Kevin Cogan and Geoff Lees.

The Englishman Mark Hazell (FW07B) and the Belgian Christophe D'Ansembourg (FW07C) do not embarrass Williams in the F1-Masters and are regularly among the fastest.

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