Williams celebrates 40th anniversary at Silverstone

Williams celebrates 40th anniversary at Silverstone
Jun 2, 2017, 4:27 PM

Williams has run a series of its iconic Formula 1 cars in a spectacular event at Silverstone to mark 40 years of the team and preview this year's British Grand Prix.

 A Carlos Reutemann Williams FW07b is demonstrated
 An Alan Jones Williams FW07 is demonstrated
 Lance Stroll, Williams
 Martin Brundle in a six-wheeled Williams FW08
 Martin Brundle in the cockpit of a six-wheeled Williams FW08
 A line-up of Williams cars, including the 1999 BMW Le Mans winner
 A Williams FW07
 A line-up of Williams F1 cars

Tens of thousands of fans claimed free tickets for Friday's event, which was headlined with the running of Nigel Mansell's FW14B, on track for the first time since his 1992 title-winning campaign.

Ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok, who is the official driver of the Williams Heritage division, was the man charged with completing a handful of laps in the iconic car.

Mansell was in attendance along with several ex-Williams drivers, which included Nico Rosberg, Keke Rosberg, Mark Webber, Damon Hill and Pastor Maldonado, and the outfit's current race drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll.

Sir Frank Williams made his first public appearance since he returned home from hospital along with co-founder Sir Patrick Head, who flew in from Sicily.

F1 bosses Sean Bratches and Ross Brawn were also in attendance, with deputy team principal Claire Williams saying they were keen "to experience what teams can do when they want to".

The March 761/7 plus the Williams FW06, FW07, FW07B, FW08B, FW10, FW11, FW14B, FW15C, FW18, FW19, FW34 and FW36 were the Formula 1 machinery displayed in the garages.

"I'm buzzing, it's been a brilliant day," said Williams. "The highlight has been the fans. It's brilliant to have so many fans here to share our 40th anniversary. I couldn't be prouder.

"We wanted to get the FW14B out, it hasn't run since 1992, it was tricky to, and it's such a complex car anyway. Just the things you don't think about, the people who engineered at the time or who worked on the engine aren't around any more - so it's been a piece of work to make it happen.

"Seeing the span of cars over the years and the changing technologies and the changing sound, the difference is phenomenal.

"We've had lots of our old drivers here, plus lots of ex-Williams employees here who have made a huge contribution to Williams, so it's fantastic to reunite."

Massa, who drove the iconic six-wheel FW08B, said: "It was good fun to drive. I had a misfire so I had to stop, but it was really nice, a good feeling.

"When you're driving, you don't think you have six wheels, but it looks nice, it's got good grip and even the gearbox was easier than I expected. The number of people here today - it shows how important Williams is for Formula 1. It's nice to be part of this."

Williams plans to run the FW14B and FW08B for parade laps during the British Grand Prix weekend as well as hosting a static display of its iconic cars at Silverstone.

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Williams marks 40th Anniversary at Silverstone with historic machines in front of 50,000 spectators

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Series Formula 1
Author Lawrence Barretto