1984 saw Williams struggle with the new Honda V6 turbo engine that had plenty of power but a very short power band meaning that it delivered all of it’s power in a sudden burst at the top end of the revolutions per minute (rpm) range rather than a preferable smooth increase in power delivery from the top half of the rpm range, all the same Keke Rosberg managed to win the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix.
Allied to this the old fashioned aluminium honeycomb construction method was no longer the stiffest solution to chassis construction, which McLaren had advanced with it’s Hercules built carbon fiber chassis in 1981.
For 1985 the Didcot based Williams team built the Patrick Head and Enrique Scalabroni designed FW10 with a Carbon Fiber monocoque, Nigel Mansell was signed up to drive the “Red 5” and join 1983 champion Keke Rosberg and seven years of Saudi Airlines and TAG sponsorship came to an end with Mobil and Cannon joining Denim and ICI as the teams primary sponsors.
For the first third of the 1985 season the team had to make do with the same Honda RA163E engines as in 1984 and their best result was a 4th place for Keke Rosberg in the Canadian Grand Prix.
For the following Detroit Grand Prix Honda supplied Williams with a completely new RA165E V6 that was not only more powerful, 900hp in race trim, but more importantly delivered it’s power in a more tractable way.
After Nigel used the engine to qualify second to Ayrton Senna, Keke celebrated the new power unit’s arrival with a debut win at Detroit from 5th on the grid and finished second in France where Nigel did not start after a 200 mph crash.
Reliability was not great over the next few races, but then Honda hit the sweet spot with it’s tuning and Nigel finished 2nd from 7th on the grid in Belgium where Keke finished 4th from 10th.
At Brands Hatch for the European Grand Prix Nigel and Keke were 3rd and 4th on the grid before Nigel, driving a “Red 5” FW10 like the one seen above at Donington Park Museum, went on to score a popular maiden win two spots ahead of Keke, at the next race Keke finished second to Nigel in the South African Grand Prix where the cars started line astern from pole and third place respectively. Nigel and Keke started 2nd and 3rd at the season ending Australian Grand Prix, but only Keke crossed the finish line albeit in first place, on his final start for the Williams team.
Thanks for joining me on this “Emergent Red Five” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyrs” I hope you will join me again for Mercedes Monday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !