Driven by Damon Hill in his third year with the team, and David Coulthard in his first full season after a part time role the previous year, the Williams FW17 featured a raised nose for the first time in Williams’ history and was the pre-season favourite to take both titles.
Affable and impossibly handsome jock David Coulthard would later say that the Williams FW17 was the best car he’d driven in his career.
New technical regulations for the 1995 presented Adrian Newey with another opportunity to steal a march on his rivals.
A completely new chassis was required to meet the FIA’s revised technical regulations, which differentiated from those of 1994 with a reduction in engine capacity, front and back wings reduced in size, more rigorous crash testing, an increase in ride-height cars’ ride height, and more tightly regulated fuel.
This was all done in the aftermath of the death of Williams’ Ayrton Senna and Simtek’s Roland Ratzenberger at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix with the aim of reducing speeds and increasing driver safety.
“The flat bottomed regulations came in at the start of 1983, so we had thirteen seasons of more or less stable aerodynamic regulations and then a very major change.” said Newey.
12 pole positions lends credibility to what many people believe was both the best chassis and the best engine on the grid in 1995, but disappointingly, come Sunday, Schumacher and the Benetton team could outmanoeuvre Williams all too easily whether it be on outright pace, fuel or pitstop strategy.
Sadly both drivers were to make costly errors during the course of the 1995 season, and often Schumacher was there to pick up the pieces. If only they had given Nige the nod.
Hill and Coulthard together won a total of five Grands Prix, compared to Schumacher’s nine.
These five victories contributed to a disappointing points haul of 112, which took the team to second place in the World Constructors Championship.
Williams FW17 Specs
|Designed by:||Patrick Head & Adrian Newey|
|Official entrant:||Rothmans Williams Renault|
|Drivers:||Damon Hill, David Coulthard|
|Engine:||Renault normally aspirated 3 litre V10|
|Transmission:||Williams transverse 6-speed semi-automatic|
|Preceded by:||Williams FW16|
|Succeeded by:||Williams FW18|