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#525 1992 British Grand Prix

2022-12-25 23:00

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#1992, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Nicola Carriero,

#525 1992 British Grand Prix

Nigel Mansell is playing at home this time. He will race on the track he prefers, hoping to put another brick, the seventh, in the staircase leading t

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Nigel Mansell is playing at home this time. He will race on the track he prefers, hoping to put another brick, the seventh, in the staircase leading to the world title. He is the big favourite, and for many reasons: he has the best car, he is in great shape and Williams works especially for him. And his team-mate Patrese cannot, as happened in France, attack him in any way. There is no doubt about this: the roles in the English team are very clear, even if the two drivers cannot say so, hiding behind vague declarations. Says Nigel Mansell:

 

"Patrese is a fantastic teammate. A great professional. I hope to have him by my side again next year".

 

Of course, but that's not really the case. No one is making any secret, in fact, that something is going on at Williams. Ecclestone himself has been hinting for six weeks that Alain Prost would have signed for the Didcot team. Unofficial news, therefore difficult to confirm. Frank Williams says:

 

"I haven't decided anything yet".

 

And Mansell replies: 

 

"I'm talking to the team, in principle we agree, but we still have to discuss the details".

 

And Patrese? 

 

"I am in the dark, although I think I have a good chance of staying".

 

Mansell almost answers him: 

 

"Don't ask me who is staying, I only know who is not coming to Williams".

 

Of course there must be difficulties, otherwise everything would already be clear. And after all, Riccardo ends up admitting that the situation is still very fluid: 

 

"I'm in a winning team, I think I've made a good contribution to probably winning the Constructors' World Championship. But at the same time I don't want to make a fool of myself and I'm looking around. And I want to let it be known that I am available for certain talks, to accept new challenges, to possibly collaborate with those who are in trouble. Last year they looked for me in September-October, a bit late. I hope, if there are intentions, that this time someone will hurry up. It's true, the choices are all geared towards Senna, Mansell and Prost. Once they are in place, the others are in place. But this time it would be a good idea to speed things up".

 

The Paduan, as usual, does not name names. However, the reference to Ferrari is clear: an offer, his, with an open heart, in the knowledge that he can be useful. At Maranello, however, there seems to be movement in different directions. Someone reportedly saw John Barnard heading towards Maranello last week. A visit that would support the hypothesis of a return of the moody but valid English designer. And with Barnard might come Senna. From Friday, 10 July 1992, Montezemolo will also be present at Silverstone: questions will abound. In the Ferrari clan, for the moment, people prefer to talk about the adventurous journey from Magny-Cours to Silverstone, through France semi-paralysed by the truckers' strike. 

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There were many problems getting through the numerous roadblocks, and at Silverstone, on the side of a Maranello team's motorhome, a hole produced by a gunshot was clearly visible. No one knows or wants to give a detailed explanation of the episode, but certainly the Ferrari team had a very unpleasant time. However, no damage was done to either the men or the cars, the same ones that competed in the French Grand Prix. For the moment, only the two single-seaters of Alesi (who appears calm and smiling, having forgotten the disappointment and controversy of Magny-Cours) are fitted with different flat bottoms and modified front suspension. But these solutions should also apply to Capelli. The British Grand Prix will also see the entry into force of the new sporting regulations that foresee the adoption of the Safety car, so as not to interrupt the race when problems arise due to accidents or rain: a car enters the track and everyone must maintain the positions acquired at that moment, while yellow flags with white borders are displayed. When the track is clear, a green banner is displayed from the Safety car. On Thursday, 9 July 1992, the drivers are summoned for explanations, but they contest the system, claiming that it is difficult to apply it without harming someone. On Friday morning, practical tests are held to see how it works. On Friday, 10 July 1992, Nigel Mansell let his rivals loose in the first qualifying session of the British Grand Prix, then, on the last lap, when he was already well ahead of the timesheet, he set an astonishing time of 1'18"965 in the Williams-Renault, at an average speed of 238.252 km/h. Two seconds slower than last year, a fantastic record that leaves friends and foes alike breathless. Also open-mouthed were the tens of thousands of spectators present at the circuit, who had hoped to see their idol dominate the trials but who had never dreamed of such an authoritative feat. Mansell not only achieved a historic exploit, but also inflicted an incredible break on his pursuers or presumed such: almost 2 seconds' gap to his team-mate Patrese, about 2 to Senna, a little more to Schumacher, 4.7 seconds to the fastest of the Ferrari drivers, i.e. Jean Alesi. Abysmal, unpredictable, monstrous gaps. If he were to repeat himself on these terms tomorrow in the race, the British Lion could lap everyone over the 59 laps of the Grand Prix, until, absurdly, he saw the tail end of his own Williams. 

 

"I am happy because this is my track and here I race in front of my people. I took some risks, at the beginning I even performed a scary skid. Because of the speed, my teeth, my jaw, my eyes hurt in the corners. But in the end I think I made a perfect, unimaginable pass. I didn't think I would go that far".

 

Hurricane Mansell crashes Patrese and Senna. And even the various Schumacher, Berger, Brunelle and Herbert, although happy with their top performances, had to lower their heads. Let's not talk about Ferrari, stumbling into one of its now common bad days. Indeed, it is one of the worst in recent times. A sort of Waterloo for the ex-Napoleonic stable in Maranello, which struggles amidst a thousand difficulties, both real and invented. About ten minutes from the end Alesi is in P14 and Capelli in P21, on the brink of non-qualification. The Frenchman breaks the special engine he has mounted on the reserve car (which also has a modified front suspension and a different flat bottom). And he has to run in free practice conditions, prey to understeer. The Italian is forced to deal with a problem on the floor of his single-seater and cannot get an acceptable set-up. Poor Ivan, he looks like a zombie. In the top speed classification (Patrese 301.040 km/h) Capelli is very last, with a top speed of 284.700 km/h. And the problem is not only with the engine, because Lehto with the Dallara-Ferrari scores a top speed of 296.330 km/h. It is clearly a matter of the chassis and aerodynamics not working: the car suffers from excessive drag. But it cannot be ruled out that the settings weren't right either, because these figures are inconceivable for a Ferrari. Results like that only serve to throw fuel on the fire of controversy, because when you can't talk about anything else you end up burning your brains in sterile discussions. Says Jean Alesi, returning to the events at Magny-Cours:

 

"I try my best, but I cannot accept certain criticism. It's not true that I disobeyed orders, when I was ordered to return to the pits I did so immediately".

 

A fair point, perhaps, but unnecessary at this point. Better to grit one's teeth. 

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Like Ayrton Senna admitting his own impotence and bringing attention to the drivers' market. 

 

"I am talking to many, although there are only three big teams where I can drive, namely McLaren, Williams and Ferrari. Everything this year depends on Prost. I might even leave my current team. And this time I will decide earlier than usual".

 

Words that, in any case, can serve to increase the demands for engagement. Ayrton Senna's, of course. In this Grand Prix, Alessandro Zanardi, from Bologna, 25 years old, Benetton test driver, replaces Christian Fittipaldi, injured in the free practice of the French Grand Prix, in the Minardi #23 at Silverstone. The announcement had been made on Tuesday, 7 July 1992. Earlier, the pre-qualifying format held on Friday morning was slightly modified for this Grand Prix, as Footwork driver Michele Alboreto was relieved of his pre-qualifying obligation and was replaced by Gabriele Tarquini, an Italian driver from the Fondmetal team. Therefore, both Fondmetal drivers are now required to pre-qualify, along with the two Larrousse drivers and the two Andrea Moda drivers. The session followed the usual pattern this season, with the two Andrea Moda cars being eliminated. Bertrand Gachot was comfortably fastest in the Larrousse-Lamborghini, followed by Tarquini, who was over 2.7 seconds slower, but qualified in second. Gachot's team-mate Ukyo Katayama moved up to third place, 1.4 seconds ahead of the last pre-qualifier, Andrea Chiesa, who used the old Fondmetal GR01 after driving the new GR02 in the last race. The Andrea Moda team was able to arrive at the circuit and had engines with them, unlike the previous event in France. With the first part of the session taking place in damp conditions, Perry McCarthy was kept in the pits by his team until the track almost dried out. However, he was sent out on the track on the wet tyres used by his teammate Roberto Moreno, and only managed one timed lap before his clutch gave out.

 

Although McCarthy set a good enough time for pre-qualifying, all the other participants then took advantage of the track becoming dry and went much faster. However, Moreno was unable to match Chiesa's time and finished the session in fifth place, over 1.6 seconds behind the Swiss driver's Fondmetal. Saturday, 11 July 1992, Nigel Mansell is restless. The rain threatens to ruin the poker he could make by winning the British Grand Prix. But Nigel Mansell's anxieties do not concern the performance of his Williams on the possibly wet track: the 38-year-old British driver sets the fastest time even in the second and useless qualifying session, run under the raging of a thunderstorm that does not let up for the whole day. Mansell inflicts a 2-second gap on Patrese and 4 on Alesi's Ferrari. If anything, Mansell's doubts concern the unknowns and risks that a race on a slippery tarmac could create. Nigel at least has the advantage of starting on pole position (number 25 of his career, the eighth of the season). If the leader of the World Championship is hoping for clear skies to increase his lead in the standings, almost all of his supposed rivals are praying instead that the rain will be unleashed in all its force, flooding the British Grand Prix with water. And among them are Ayrton Senna (who, returning to the drivers' market, makes a sensational revelation: "It's not a question of money, I'm only looking for technical guarantees. If I don't find them I might as well retire"), in trouble with McLaren, and Jean Alesi. The latter, forced to start in eighth position - while Capelli will be in fourteenth - expresses a certain optimism, provided, however, that it rains: 

 

"In the wet I overtake two cars a lap and I can get on the podium".

 

The bad weather, even if the forecast is uncertain, at least promises to shuffle the values on the field. An interested spectator in the pits will also be - for the first time since he took over the presidency of Ferrari - Luca Montezemolo. The Ferrari president gives several clarifications, confirming however that the Maranello team is on the eve of important decisions. A long and articulate speech, his, which we summarise in the main points. 

 

"After five months, I was able to make a careful and thorough analysis. The tests here at Silverstone highlighted the problems of our cars. We will act in four areas: reorganisation of the team, which also needs to be downsized because it has grown too big; hiring some technicians to work alongside Harvey Postlethwaite (editor's note: what will happen to engineer Claudio Lombardi?); work on the engine; concentration of efforts on electronics. Regarding the first concept, we must clearly separate the sectors that deal with the chassis and the engine. Mixing the problems makes everything more difficult to solve".

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So, the design part will pivot on Postlethwaite. But these days there has been talk of Bamard and Senna...

 

"With Ayrton, we have not been in touch during this market period".

 

An indirect answer without denying any possible talks with the English technician, who at this point could only return to collaborate with Ferrari by accepting a consultant role on the Maranello staff. About the drivers, Montezemolo specifies: 

 

"I like Alesi, he can mature and gain experience in car tuning. Well flanked, you could recreate a Lauda-Regazzoni type couple. I think Prost is the pivot in the current negotiations. We are waiting to see what the Frenchman will do, with detachment, and then we can move on. I have heard instead that Capelli is disappointed with Ferrari. But Ferrari is disappointed with Capelli".

 

This last sentence, it seems to be understood, is worth a send-off for the Italian. But on the name of the replacement, for the moment, there is still silence. The president of Ferrari, however, also says that talent must be sought where it is found, so no hypothesis seems to be ruled out. In conclusion, Riccardo Patrese emerged unscathed from a spectacular and dangerous accident that occurred to him during practice this morning. The Paduan's Williams was hurled like a bullet against a low wall by Comas' Ligier. The Frenchman had not noticed the slowdown of the car in front of him and the yellow flags displayed by the marshals to signal that Gachot's Venturi was stationary at the entrance to the Vale curve. Riccardo Patrese, who suffered minor contusions in the accident, later explained:

 

"Luckily, I ended up against the bias guard, otherwise I would have really hurt myself. Comas made a terrible mistake".
 

Riccardo Patrese will run regularly either with the spare Williams or with a new car that the mechanics will fit overnight. At the start of the British Grand Prix, Riccardo Patrese tries to undermine Nigel Mansell, but the English driver fends off his teammate's attack, maintaining the lead. Behind the two Williams drivers comes Brundle, who duels for the third position with Senna, while Schumacher and Berger contend for the fifth place: at the end both fights are won by the Benetton drivers, with Senna forced to retire because of gearbox problems at seven laps to the end of the race, and Berger slowed down by engine troubles. Johnny Herbert is the first of the leaders to retire from sixth position in the leading Lotus, close to the pit wall, due to transmission problems on lap 32. Jean Alesi stops for mechanical problems on lap 44. In the end Brundle ended the race 9 seconds behind Patrese and 5 behind team-mate Schumacher, who lost time following a collision with Stefano Modena's Jordan while trying to overtake him. Mansell leads the entire race undisturbed, winning ahead of Patrese, Brundle, Schumacher, Berger and Häkkinen. England forgives Nigel Mansell. A giant embrace with the crowd crowned the victory that the 38-year-old driver from Upton-upon-Severn achieved on his favourite circuit. Tens of thousands of fans, here called fanatics or rather fansell (from the contraction of Mansell fans), invade the track at the end of the ninth round of the Formula One World Championship. It seems, for a few moments, to relive that day in 1979 when Jody Scheckter won the world title at Monza driving a Ferrari. A Ferrari that unfortunately confirmed all its current shortcomings, having never been in the running, forced to settle for ninth place by Capelli, after Alesi retired while the Frenchman was fighting for eighth place and was about to be lapped by Mansell. But let's talk about the winners and not the losers. The final scene, the jubilation of the crowd, on a spectacular level turns into a thrilling event, bordering on the unconscious because the spectators throw themselves onto the track climbing over the fences, without thinking about anything, running mortal risks (and for this the Silverstone organisers should be fined) with the cars that still have to cross the finish line and run at full speed in the midst of people. So much so that many drivers must leave their cars along the track to avoid dangerous slaloms. People fainted, people got sick, collective madness for all 150.000 who wanted to witness another historic day in British motor racing. A British car, a home-grown driver. What else could you ask? Long ago Mansell was considered just a fast racer but with a limited brain.

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Too many mistakes in his career, too many failed targets. But this time - as has been said - amnesty has arrived: Nigel goes from the role of show driver to that of genuine, consecrated champion. Not least because with his seventh win of the season and 76 points in the championship standings (36 ahead of Patrese, 47 ahead of Schumacher, 56 ahead of Berger and 58 ahead of Senna), the championship could now slip away from him only if he were to start running on foot. In any case, in two rounds, i.e. at the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix in mid-August, he will have mathematical certainty. To get an idea of what Mansell has done from the opening race to date, suffice it to say that, apart from his second place at Monte-Carlo (behind Senna) and his retirement (when he went off the track in Canada in an attempt to overtake the Brazilian), the Englishman has finished first seven times and has led 487 of the 557 laps he has completed, holding the lead for 2145 kilometres. An absolute supremacy, which will lead him to break many records this year, exalted at Silverstone by the knowledge of the track and the boost of the fans. Indeed, there was no glory for any other driver this weekend, given the gaps Nigel Mansell inflicted in practice and in the race. The race, in fact, offered only one glimmer of excitement as far as victory was concerned. At the start, Mansell got off to a bad start, Patrese pulled alongside him and took the first corner in the lead. Then the landlord pressed the accelerator and there was no more history. Nigel went on to win by lapping 11 of the 16 drivers classified besides him. The only difficulty for the Williams #5 was precisely that of not risking overtaking the competitors he gradually caught up with. Abysmal gaps already in the first laps, then a tyre change that was still a bit messy, and then the triumph. On a day that the rain strangely avoided disturbing, one lived on the duels behind Mansell. At the end Patrese controlled quite easily the fury of Brunelle (once again third, the podium was the same as at Magny Cours), of Schumacher who duelled for a long time with Senna, losing the confrontation (but the Brazilian was later forced to retire because of a gearbox problem after he had just managed to overtake Brundle), of Berger - who broke his engine just past the finishing line - and of Hakkinen, once again sixth, in points with the Lotus equipped with active suspension. The Italian fans had to be content with Michele Alboreto's placing in P7, with the Milanese driver leading the ranking of drivers who had covered the most laps in the race this year. Meagre satisfaction. 

 

"It was a fantastic and terrible experience at the same time: if it hadn't been for the marshals and the police, I don't know if I would have made it back to the pits alive. It felt like people wanted to eat me. I didn't think I could raise so much enthusiasm. And I must admit that getting on the podium was the most difficult feat of this Grand Prix".

 

Nigel Mansell has won his poker of races in England, once again showing himself to be a born actor, a character that would have to be invented if he did not exist. Normally, when he finishes races, he collapses unconscious, cries from fatigue, complains, says he took every possible risk. At the end of the race, the Englishman looks fresh, never stops hugging his podium mates, sprays the champagne bottle to the last drop, and jumps skimming over the fence balustrade. 

 

"I am as happy as I have ever been, and do you want to know why? For the simple reason that this is my success number 28 in Formula 1. I have surpassed Jackie Stewart, one of my idols. I have become the British driver who has won the most races of all time. It's true that Stewart won three titles, but for a driver the most complete achievement comes from finishing ahead of everyone else. The championship is something else, but at the end of the day it's a matter of points, you can do it with an abacus".

 

And now the title is approaching, it is almost done. 

 

"I don't want to hear about it. Just in 1986 I was champion with 16 laps to go in the last race of the season. And I was mocked. So let's wait and see in the next races".

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To whom should he dedicate this statement? For once Mansell does not pull out the usual spiel: to the team, the mechanics, the sponsors, Renault, Elf, my family, etc...

 

"This one is for the fans. This time they were my fantastic job, my business: I was driving and in the straight I could feel their breath pushing me. And I am convinced that when they passed my rivals the breath of the crowd was in the opposite direction, pushing them back. On the lap after crossing the finish line I even think I stepped on the foot of someone who was in the middle of the track. He was a big guy, but I was going slowly. He must have really liked it...".

 

In any case, the most heartfelt, most sincere, and perhaps most appreciated compliments this time came from a driver. From that driver who on other occasions, as had happened in France, had made it clear that he had been a little robbed by his team-mate, Riccardo Patrese.

 

"Here Nigel is a true Martian. Nobody could beat him. He smashed everyone. I honestly never even thought I could come first in this race. Nigel was going too fast. He got off to a bad start, I tried to overtake him, but I soon realised that I couldn't resist him. After one kilometre, at the Beckett corner he was propelled by something magical. For me, however, the race was tough, one of the toughest of the season. The blow from Saturday's crash had worn me down, taken my strength away, even though I was quite well. I had decided to have a tactical race. That's why with the team we had chosen not to change the tyres. But at the start I had to ride carefully. And the others tried to attack me. Today I can only applaud Mansell. Maybe my time to win will come later".

 

At the same time, it was the sixth retirement of the season for Ayrton Senna. It had never happened to him, not even when he raced for Toleman. But the Brazilian now takes his misfortune with philosophy: 

 

"It is now a season gone. I had engaged in a good fight with Brundle and managed to overtake him. After four corners the gearbox gave out. What are you going to do?"


 

Then, the McLaren driver goes into his long speeches, imbued with transversal messages, directed to Ferrari, Williams and probably with more interest to his own team. In essence, Senna makes it clear that whoever wants to have him starting next year will have to hire designer John Barnard. In the meantime, Prost, present as commentator for the TF1 broadcaster, engages in many speeches with various people, including Luca Montezemolo and Alesi, for twenty minutes on the Ferrari motorhome. Says Alain Prost:

 

"We talked about sport".

 

But the Ferrari president let it be known that Prost confided in him: 

 

"I have not yet signed for Williams".

 

Is it to be believed that Alain Prost has, for once, told the truth? Within a couple of weeks his destination should be officially revealed. And then the driver-market will move for everyone. The needle of the scales falls for the Italian drivers, who are no longer able to emerge. With Patrese eternal second and Alboreto defending himself with a mid-range car, the others are struggling with non-competitive teams. 

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Tarquini, who was having a very good race with Fondmetal, ran without a clutch from lap three. It was also a quiet weekend to forget for Ferrari, which had also won its first race in Formula 1 on this track, with Froilan Gonzalez in 1951. The English trip was a tough negative confirmation for the Maranello team. Looking at the race, the Italian single-seaters showed all their limits. Repeating what had happened in qualifying, the cars driven by Alesi and Capelli made it clear that all the modifications made so far had proved useless. Lack of power, ridiculous top speed on the straight. This was also evident from the analysis of Ivan Capelli, ninth at the finish: 

 

"The car was not bad in terms of grip. And it had also improved after the tyre change. But when I got behind Comas's Ligier I realised that I could never overtake him, because he was going away from me in a straight line".

 

The same goes for Jean Alesi, who left for the umpteenth time dark in the face, after the humiliation of retirement, due to the explosion of the on-board fire extinguisher that impregnated the Frenchman's overalls with frozen liquid, which can burn. It is the third time it has happened: here in the race, once in practice in Mexico and another during private tests. The Maranello engineers have let it be known that they are planning to replace the current alloy fire extinguisher with one made of carbon fibre, which is more resistant. Disarming engineer Lombardi: 

 

"We had set up a regularity race, knowing that we were not competitive".

 

Montezemolo left two laps before the end of the race, without comment. From the speeches of the past few days, however, it seemed to us that Lombardi will in future deal above all with the engines. Not least because, a few hours after the British Grand Prix, Luca Montezemolo meets the British designer John Barnard. The conversation is cordial and the prospects for an agreement are positive. The British engineer himself admits in interviews that he is interested in a return to Formula One after the failure of a project with Toyota. 

 

"Since the position at Williams is already occupied by Patrick Head, there are two solutions: McLaren or Ferrari. But with the first team, there are real problems from the past".

 

A half-hearted admission that the alternative between the two teams would not be viable. Moreover, the former technical director of the Maranello team also makes it known that he could work on the design with a team of engineers in England, to move to Italy when the car is built. The fact that he has discussed the matter with Barnard confirms that Ferrari is also aiming at Ayrton Senna, given that the Brazilian driver says he will go to the team where the engineer he trusts will be. And since the Englishman specifies that he has a project for a single-seater with the new regulations for 1993, which, however, may not be ready for the start of the season, one can also hypothesise an arrival of Ayrton Senna, at the limit, for 1994. In the meantime, Nigel Mansell, after the joys of triumph, is experiencing a difficult moment: the Williams star makes it clear that he will not accept a cohabitation with Alain Prost. 

 

"I would rather retire".

 

Quite a problem also for Frank Williams, who risked losing his driver or the Renault engines, should he deny the Frenchman a job. On the morning of Saturday, 8 March 1986, a beautiful sunny day in England, Virginia Williams received a phone call from her husband. 

 

"I'm coming tonight. Be sure to prepare the pasta. Yes, the noodles. Tomorrow, I want to be light and fit, I want to run the Portsmouth half marathon. Lots of kisses".

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A few hours later, another communication announced that Frank Williams was admitted to Marseille hospital, fighting between life and death, from a car accident that occurred while he was travelling from the Le Castellet track, where a series of tests had ended, to Nice airport. Since that sad and painful day, Frank Williams, a man full of energy, has been confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. He can barely move his hands. Yet he still has the same drive as before, as when he began his adventure as a builder in the racing world at the age of 27. Three months ago, a father of three, he celebrated his 50th birthday: he was born in South Shields, on the banks of the Thames, on 16 April 1942. He has won four Formula One Constructors' World Championships and three times his drivers have won the rainbow helmet. And two more are on the way this year. Behind Nigel Mansell's triumphs is this incredible character. Says Frank Williams:

 

"The results are recognition of the hard work we have always done. Of the team's determination and planning. There is nothing casual about it. If anything, if we look too strong, it is the fault of our rivals who have now lost contact. But I have no illusions, we are ready to do battle again. That is why there is already a new car in our workshops in Didcot, the FW15. But we will only take it out if we have to. We don't want to give our opponents any indications".

 

In this sentence there is the essence of Frank Williams, who runs the team in symbiosis with designer Patrick Head, who is also co-owner of the company. A sense of competition, the desire to leave no stone unturned, the ability to always react methodically: these are his secrets. 

 

"I have been through many difficult times, but with a bit of luck I have always managed. Today Williams Grand Prix Engineering is a solid company with almost 200 employees. We spend less than McLaren and Ferrari. But I am convinced that our investment in research and development is higher than that of our British cousin".

 

In a motor racing team, there is the technical problem, which you have solved in the best possible way with Patrick Head's staff and since 1989 with Renault's contribution for the engines. But above all it is difficult to manage the drivers...

 

"We have always operated, as far as drivers are concerned, in two directions. We don't try to discover new talent, we prefer good, proven professionals. And then we always want to be very clear with them. The team first and foremost".

 

There is talk these days about the drivers' market. What will Williams do? 

 

"I cannot reveal our plans. Too many times I have been contradicted. The only thing I can say is that we will do everything to keep Nigel Mansell. With Ayrton Senna I am neither married nor engaged. Drivers, however, are very particular types: Alain Prost created many problems at Ferrari, Senna annoys the Japanese at Honda, Nigel suffers from persecution complexes. You name it...".

 

In between the lines, although all the people concerned deny it, for now, it is said that pressure from Renault would have led Williams to sign Prost for 1993. An operation that could put Mansell and his team in crisis, as had already happened in the past. But Frank Williams certainly has alternative solutions: with a winning car, faced with the whims (and any exorbitant economic demands from the English driver) he will not hesitate to threaten to put him at the door. He might say to him: 

 

"We already have Prost and a winning car. Look for yourself a place".

 

But we will not have to wait long for an official answer when Mansell will have mathematically won the world title. 


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