The Williams FW14B derives from the FW14. A Formula One car designed by Adrian Newey, and subsequently used by the Williams team during the 1991 and 1992 seasons. The chassis consisted of a carbon fibre and honeycomb composite structure, and this was paired with a V10 Renault RS3C engine, capable of producing 3,493 cc and 750 brake horsepower at a rate of 13,000 rpm.
This car was born out of necessity, as the 1989 and 1990 seasons were certainly competitive for Williams, however, they had greatly underachieved in both their own eyes and the eyes of Renault. Newey had previously worked on aerodynamic and extremely efficient cars with a limited budget, so upon joining Williams in March 1990, he was provided with more resources and funding. With these assets, he was given the freedom to entirely flesh out and develop his ideas. Newey’s design showed so much promise, in fact, that they were able to persuade Nigel Mansell into signing for Willaims rather than retiring from the sport, as he had previously planned.
Fuelled by the 3.5-litre V10 Renault engine, the FW14 is highly regarded and often considered as the most technologically sophisticated car to have ever competed in Formula One.
The FW14B, therefore, had some rather large shoes to fill. In 1992, the FW14B featured semi-automatic transmission, active suspension, traction control and even anti-lock brakes for a short time.
Combining the aerodynamics that had been designed by Adrian Newey, with the active suspension invented by designer and aerodynamicist Frank Dernie, the FW14B was miles ahead of its competitors, literally and metaphorically. It was so successful that its successor, the FW15, never saw the track.
Mansell dominated the 1992 season in the FW14B, and he progressed through the 1992 Drivers’ Championship with a then-record of nine victories in a single season. Senna would go on to be the eventual winner that season. The increased level of downforce produced by the FW14B greatly suited Nigel Mansell’s aggressive style of driving, and the result was that there were many occasions throughout races in the ’92 season where Mansell and his teammate, Ricardo Patrese, gained two seconds per lap on the rest of the field.