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  Article Image gallery (59) Chassis (4) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1982
Numbers built:6 (one unused)
Internal name:FW08
Designed by:Patrick Head for Williams
Predecessor:Williams FW07D Cosworth
Successor:Williams FW08C Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:October 17, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIntroduced in 1979, the Patrick Head designed FW07 established Williams as a Grand Prix winning team. In FW07B guise and with Alan Jones at the wheel, it was used to clinch the first World Championships for the British team. The success continued in 1981 with the FW07C, which enabled Williams to successfully defend the constructor's World Championship. Although still a race winning machine, the FW07 was finally superseded by the all-new FW08 in 1982.

Not surprisingly, the FW08 did carry over many of the design features that made the FW07 so successful. Compared to its predecessor, the new-for-1982 Williams featured a more compact and stronger moncoque chassis. Unlike some of the rivals, who had switched to exotic composite materials, Williams once again relied on old-fashioned aluminium to construct the chassis. The most significant difference between the FW07 and the FW08 was a wheelbase reduction of 10 cm.

One of the main reasons to further increase the rigidity of the chassis was a change in the regulations, which banned the sliding lateral skirts at the start of the 1981 season. These were an intricate element of the ground effect aerodynamics used to generate a vast majority of the car's vital downforce. In order to maintain a seal between the fixed skirts and the road, the suspension was further stiffened, which in turn put additional strain on the chassis.

Another tried and trust component was the venerable Ford Cosworth DFV engine, which was used as a fully stressed member. With just over 500 bhp on tap, it was not quite as powerful as the new generation turbo engines but it was certainly more reliable. As an added benefit, the compact and uncomplicated V8 did allow the FW08 to make the minimum weight limit. Like the other Cosworth-powered teams, Williams also briefly ran water-cooled brakes, which used water to ballast the car to the limit only to release it on the opening lap. Not surprisingly, the system was quickly banned.

Williams started the season with a pair of uprated FW07Cs, driving by Keijo Rosberg and Carlos Reutemann. From the European rounds, the new FW08 was used and by this time Derek Daly had taken Reutemann's place; the Argentinean had suddenly retired after just two races. Starting an impressive third on the grid, Rosberg placed second in the FW08's debut at Zolder, which was overshadowed by the fatal accident of Gilles Villeneuve in qualifying.

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  Article Image gallery (59) Chassis (4) Specifications