Classic Cars Wiki
Classic Cars Wiki
Williams Honda FW09 at the Honda Collection Hall, Japan FL

Williams Honda FW09 at the Honda Collection Hall, Japan, by Darren Chan on

The Williams FW09 was a Formula One car designed by Patrick Head and Neil Oatley.

It was the first Williams chassis to be powered by a turbocharged Honda V6 engine, which Frank Williams negotiated a deal for towards the end of 1982 and the beginning of the 1983 season.

Honda was already supplying the small Spirit team, but was enthusiastic about supplying Williams, who had the reigning World Champion Keke Rosberg as lead driver.

Williams had agreed to help develop the engine under Grand Prix race conditions.
Keke Rosberg won the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix in a Williams FW09.

The chassis was built from aluminium with carbon fibre used at stress points and was based on the reasonably successful 1983 Williams FW08C.

The engine cover had to be redesigned as the car was powered by a smaller, but more powerful (850 bhp (634 kW; 862 PS) V6 engine rather than the 530 bhp (395 kW; 537 PS) Cosworth V8 that powered the FW08C.

The front of the car was also redesigned giving the car cleaner aerodynamics. The FW09 was introduced at the South African Grand Prix, the last race of the 1983 season, which was nothing more than a shakedown exercise.

Rosberg showed the potential of both car and engine by qualifying sixth and finishing in fifth place while team mate Jacques Laffite started 10th but spun off under braking for Crowthorne Corner at the end of the long main straight on lap two, his car ending up in the tyre barrier and out of the race.

The car was then raced in the 1984 Formula One season by Rosberg and team mate Laffite. Both drivers found the engine to their liking but not the chassis which suffered from the sudden bursts of power that the Honda gave, upsetting the balance of the car. Furthermore, the car body was found to produce a lot of drag at high speeds. Reliability was also a problem, with Laffite only recording five finishes during the whole season, but the basic speed was there with the Honda powered FW09 consistently among the fastest cars through the speeds traps on many tracks. Indeed both drivers recorded a top speed of 310 km/h (192.6 mph) in qualifying and the race at the 1984 South African Grand Prix. Rosberg had a more successful year than Laffite, managing to tame the car's unpredictable handling by winning the Dallas Grand Prix. It was Honda's first Grand Prix win since 1967.

A modified version of the car called the FW09B was introduced at the 1984 British Grand Prix. Unfortunately from that race until the end of the season both Rosberg and Laffite only recorded on finish each and neither was in the points. Laffite was 8th at the Dutch Grand Prix while Rosberg ended the season in Portugal with a disappointing was 14th place, following which the FW09 was retired. Williams finished sixth in the constructors' championship in 1984 having scored 25.5 points.

The FW09 was retired following the 1984 season. It was replaced in 1985 by the all carbon fibre and more successful Williams FW10.

v · d · e
Williams vehicles