The 6-wheeled Williams F1 automotive that by no means raced

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All Components 1 followers have seen the notorious Tyrrell P34 automotive with 4 tiny wheels on the entrance and two normal Goodyear tyres on the again. March additionally produced a six-wheel automotive within the mid-1970s, named the 2-Four-Zero, which had two regular wheels on the entrance and 4 small ones on the again. In contrast to the Tyrrell (pictured beneath), it was by no means raced in F1, however the pondering hadn’t handed by the Williams tech boffins of the day…

The entrance wheels of the Tyrrell P34

Picture by: Franco Nugnes

Patrick Depailler, Tyrrell P34-Ford Cosworth

Patrick Depailler, Tyrrell P34-Ford Cosworth

Picture by: LAT Photos

The front two wheels of the Tyrrell P34 Ford in the paddock

The entrance two wheels of the Tyrrell P34 Ford within the paddock

Picture by: LAT Photos

Close to the top of the 1981 season, it turned clear to the Williams technical employees that one thing wanted to be achieved as a way to problem the highly effective Ferrari and Renault turbo automobiles (pictured beneath).

“We designed the six-wheel automotive as a result of we couldn’t get a turbo engine,” Frank Dernie tells Motorsport.com. Then working as a guide, Dernie was the right-hand man of Patrick Head, the chief designer and technical director of the British crew.

“On the time, the turbo engines had been about 180 horsepower extra highly effective than the usually aspirated Ford Cosworth DFV we had been utilizing,” he provides. “We actually struggled to provide a automotive that had sufficient downforce and little drag to compete with them.”

During 70 laps, they all tried to push Gilles Villeneuve at fault and pass him; they never could and Gilles went on to win his 6th and last Grand Prix

Throughout 70 laps, all of them tried to push Gilles Villeneuve at fault and go him; they by no means may and Gilles went on to win his sixth and final Grand Prix

Picture by: Worldwide Press Company

René Arnoux, Renault RE30 leads Alan Jones, Williams FW07C-Ford Cosworth, Nelson Piquet Brabham, BT49C-Ford Cosworth, Jacques Laffite, Ligier JS17-Matra

René Arnoux, Renault RE30 leads Alan Jones, Williams FW07C-Ford Cosworth, Nelson Piquet Brabham, BT49C-Ford Cosworth, Jacques Laffite, Ligier JS17-Matra

Picture by: LAT Photos

Caught with the DFV, the engineers needed to discover an aerodynamic resolution to make the automotive run quicker.

“We regarded on the wheels and we came upon that the rear tyres had been producing an enormous quantity of drag,” Dernie continues. “We got here up with this concept of if we may produce a automotive which had 4 entrance wheels on the again, one behind the opposite, we’d in all probability be producing a lot much less drag.

“We did some measurements and the six-wheel automotive confirmed a considerable discount in drag. I believe it was equal to over 160 horsepower in achieve of drag. So Patrick [Head] labored on the gearbox and rear suspensions and I labored on aerodynamics.”

The 6-wheel Williams FW08D

The 6-wheel Williams FW08D

Picture by: Camille De Bastiani

The small technical division of the Williams crew may depend on two younger and gifted engineers who had been on an apprenticeship.

Dernie says: “Solely Patrick and I had some expertise in racing automotive engineering. We had a comparatively younger engineer named Neil Oatley, who was nonetheless within the studying section. Within the windtunnel, it was principally a mannequin maker and me. I used to be additionally performing as wind tunnel technician. We had an assistant named Ross Brawn, who helped me.”

“We constructed the gearbox and ran it as a result of Patrick was very fearful that with 4 pushed wheels we would find yourself with a automotive that had terminal low-speed understeer. So, he needed to get some circuit testing.”

Keke Rosberg, 6-wheel Williams FW08B

Keke Rosberg, 6-wheel Williams FW08B

Picture by: LAT Photos

Williams FW08B (6 wheel) and FW08C (4 wheel)

Williams FW08B (6 wheel) and FW08C (Four wheel)

Picture by: Dickie Stanford

Keke Rosberg, 6-wheel Williams FW08B

Keke Rosberg, 6-wheel Williams FW08B

Picture by: LAT Photos

Dernie labored on the automotive’s aerodynamics and he maximised the usage of the sidepods to generate floor impact.

“The bodywork I used to be engaged on within the windtunnel, which might have been the ultimate model had we gone forward, didn’t have a rear wing in any respect,” he reveals. “That automotive had large venturi tunnels, all the best way to the again and the bodywork prolonged all the best way to the rear. We managed to get the downforce with out a rear wing.

“The drag discount was phenomenal. Actually crude simulations on the time would have us go flat-out by the Signes nook of the Paul Ricard circuit at over 200 mph.”

Alan Jones, 6-wheel Williams FW07D

Alan Jones, 6-wheel Williams FW07D

Picture by:

Williams FW08B (6 wheel) and FW08C (4 wheel)

Williams FW08B (6 wheel) and FW08C (Four wheel)

Picture by: Dickie Stanford

A check automotive was produced: the Williams FW07D, which was primarily based on the profitable FW07C. The brand new rear finish with 4 wheels (and two differentials) was bolted to the rear of the DFV.

Jones flew again from his last-ever F1 win at Vegas to the UK to check the brand new automotive at Donington. After that, one other automotive was constructed, the FW08B, the automotive that was imagined to contest the 1982 season.

“Alan Jones, Jonathan Palmer, Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite drove the 2 variations of the six wheel,” Dernie continues. “Laffite drove it most, particularly at Croix-en-Ternois, a brief and twisty monitor positioned in Northern France.

“Our massive concern was we might get large energy understeer out of the sluggish corners. When Jacques got here in to the pits for the primary time, we needed to speak concerning the dealing with and he simply forgot the automotive had six wheels! He cherished it.”

Frank Williams and his technical team

Frank Williams and his technical crew

Picture by: LAT Photos

The FIA heard about these unusual automobiles, and determined to make a change to the F1 rulebook to ban automobiles with greater than 4 wheels. Moreover, the FIA thought of that the Williams was unlawful as a result of it was four-wheel drive, which had already been forbidden.

“Patrick was livid when it received banned,” says Dernie. “In actuality, all people would have achieved it as rapidly as they presumably may, so in a method it was good for F1 that it did get banned.”

 Martin Brundle drives a six-wheeled FW08B

Martin Brundle drives a six-wheeled FW08B

Picture by: Joe Portlock / LAT Photos

 A six-wheeled Williams FW08 is prepped, as Karun Chandhok, Keke Rosberg and Nico Rosberg watch on

A six-wheeled Williams FW08 is prepped, as Karun Chandhok, Keke Rosberg and Nico Rosberg watch on

Picture by: Sam Bloxham / LAT Photos

 Felipe Massa, demonstrates a six-wheeled Williams FW08

Felipe Massa, demonstrates a six-wheeled Williams FW08

Picture by: Zak Mauger / LAT Photos

The FW08B has been just lately restored by Williams, and could be seen in motion throughout particular monitor days – Felipe Massa, Martin Brundle and Jenson Button have all pushed it.

“The automotive remains to be in working situation, which is an incredible feat,” concludes Dernie. “We constructed just one gearbox and just one set of full suspension. We solely had a small variety of inside spares for the gearbox. That was it.

“We had been nearly to make some extra elements when the six-wheel automotive was banned in F1. That was the top of the street for that undertaking.”

 Frank Dernie and Felipe Massa, Williams

Frank Dernie and Felipe Massa, Williams

Picture by: Zak Mauger / LAT Photos