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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1997
Numbers built:6
Designed by:Patrick Head and Adrian Newey for Williams
Predecessor:Williams FW18 Renault
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 29, 2021
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWilliams had dominated the 1996 Formula 1 World Championship with the Renault-engined FW18, so it was not a surprise that the British team opted to field an evolution for the 1997 season. Dubbed the FW19, it was once again the work of technical director and departing chief designer Adrian Newey. With the latter switching to rival McLaren, the finishing touches of the FW19 were made by Newey's replacement Geoff Willis.

As before, the FW19 was built around a monocoque that was constructed from carbon-fibre composites with a honeycomb core. The suspension was through double wishbones on all four corners with in-board mounted springs and dampers that were actuated by push-rods. Renault supplied the latest evolution of the all-conquering V10 engine. By the end of the season, the three-litre unit was good for 760 bhp at 17,000 rpm. This was fed to the rear wheels through a paddle-operated six-speed gearbox.

While much remained the same at Williams, the 1996 World Championship winning driver Damon Hill had been let go. His place alongside Jacques Villeneuve was taken by German Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who stepped up from the Sauber team. Williams could also rely on the services of test-drivers Jean-Christophe Boullion and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Once again, the main adversary for the Williams team was Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher. Villeneuve would spent the entire season competing Schumacher and by the end of the year the Canadian was one point down despite winning seven of the previous sixteen Grands Prix. In the very controversial season finale, Villeneuve was driven off the road while trying to overtake Schumacher. Whereas the Canadian could continue, the German driver was forced to retire. Finishing third with a damaged car, Villeneuve scored sufficient points to become World Champion.

In addition to the success in the Drivers' championship, Williams also won the Constructors' trophy. With Newey moving to McLaren and Renault suspending their Formula 1 involvement, Williams struggled to fight for the titles again in 1998. As such, the FW19 remains the last Williams to secure either World Championship.

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  Article Image gallery (17) Chassis (2) Specifications