It has long been recognised that four time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel has a deep respect for Formula 1’s rich past, and he can now claim to own a part of it to go with his World Championship trophies he earned in his time with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari.
It was revealed last week that the German, veteran of 249 Grands Prix, has used a slice of his not-insignificant Ferrari salary to purchase one of F1’s most iconic cars – the Williams FW14B driven by Nigel Mansell to 1992 World Championship glory.
Little is known about the sale, but it is thought that the car is worth around €3m, based on another sold recently by Bonhams.
The FW14B – considered one of the most ground-breaking #F1 cars of all time – and Sebastian Vettel’s four world championship titles share something in common – neither would have been possible without the input of one man – Adrian Newey.
Newey joined Williams in 1990 having been inexplicably sacked by Grand Prix minnows Leyton House in 1990, and immediately began working with the team on the wizadry that would make their 1991 car – the FW14 – a title challenger in its first season.
After a few teething issues, the FW14 found its stride by round 5 in Canada, but by which time, Senna and McLaren had racked up four wins and a lead in the championship that he would never relinquish despite Williams’ Nigel Mansell’s best efforts.
They weren’t to be undone in 1992 however, and Mansell secured the title in record time, going on to win 9 of the season’s 16 races.
Newey left Williams after a period of unprecedented success to join Mclaren, where he would again taste championship glory before joining Red Bull’s F1 project in 2006.
There, it didn’t take long for him to work his magic, and the Austrian outfit were challenging for championships by 2009.
Four years of unmitigated success were to follow as the Newey penned RB6, RB7, RB8 and RB9 took all eight championships, with Sebastian Vettel taking four drivers’ titles.
Along with the Newey connection, the Williams in question is #5 – Vettel’s race number. Williams was also the team that gave the German his first opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car.
That being said, the likelihood is that despite the numerous connections, it’s simply an iconic Grand Prix car from an evocative period in Formula 1 history that Vettel simply had to get his hands on.
Given the chance (and the means!), wouldn’t you?