Nigel Mansell’s legendary 1992 Formula 1 World Championship-winning Williams-Renault FW14B will go under the hammer at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed Bonhams sale.
Mansell won five of the seven races he contested in chassis ’08’ with the famous ‘Red Five’ number and nickname, while Riccardo Patrese raced it with a ‘White Six’ atop its snout. In total, Mansell totted up nine wins throughout the season, beating Ayrton Senna’s eight-win record.
The car was good to both drivers, with Mansell becoming world champ – the first Brit since Hunt in 1976 – and Patrese coming in second.
Aesthetically, the 14B comes from a sweet spot era in Formula 1. Sophisticated aerodynamics marry with a taut and sleek style and width that many bemoan the loss of in F1 almost to this day.
The 14B is widely renowned as one of the coolest-looking F1 cars of all time but is also celebrated as a pioneer of technological development and sophistication in the sport for its era.
Designed by Adrian Newey, it ran a sophisticated computer-controlled hydraulic active suspension system, where you can physically see the car raise and lower. The car could be ‘told’ to raise or lower at points on the circuit to help amend drivers’ complaints of under or oversteer in different corners.
Though some drivers complained of a lack of feel, it was Mansell’s ability to lean into the system and be predictive before it would react that gave him the edge.
In recent years, the car has been painstakingly well-preserved by Williams Grand Prix Engineering and Williams Heritage. The car ran publicly for the first time since its contemporary racing days, 25 years on, in 2017. Since then it has passed on to one private owner. Both its screaming Renault V10 engine and its computer suspension are purported to be in tested working order.
No word yet on what the car is estimated to make. When it comes to the highest echelons of motor racing and pieces of its history such as this, how long is a piece of string? Needless to say, deep pockets are required, both to buy and run it.