The crack of dawn on Wednesday shone a light on 4-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and his latest purchase; the 1992 Williams FW14B which was pivotal in Nigel Mansell’s pursuit of the Championship title that year.
Heralded as one of the greatest cars to ever race in the sport, the FW14B was unrivalled during its 1992 campaign which resulted in a World Championship for driver and constructor alike. Winning an impressive 10 races from 16 and taking 15 pole positions, the FW14B has an impressive track record (although not quite as strong as the indefectible McLaren MP4/4).
The car was a revolutionary breakthrough and is still considered one of, if not the most technologically advanced F1 cars at the time of its respective release. This is largely thanks to Adrian Newey, who was responsible for its design and subsequently its technological breakthroughs such as electronic driver aids in the form of traction control and active suspension. Thanks to the newly designed suspension, the engineers were able to programme the circuit-to-be-driven into the car, allowing it to stay as flat as physically possible through the corners. The car’s active suspension was in fact so advanced that Williams continues to keep the specifics of its technology under wraps to this day.
Another reason why the FW14B is a fan favourite is in part thanks to its striking livery. Alongside the Marlboro enshrouded McLarens of the era, the early ‘90s livery of the Williams has become truly iconic in Formula 1. This happens to be a favourite of my own; a believer that the best colour schemes arose during the time of tobacco sponsorships.
The exact figure Vettel paid for the car is unknown, however one (out of the six FW14Bs in existence) sold for approx. €3,000,000 last year at a Bonhams auction, so that’s probably a good starting point.
Despite Vettel’s 2020 campaign with Ferrari turning out to be pretty miserable (for lack of a better word), at least he will have acquired one new championship winning car by the end of the season…