When I asked Frank Dernie, during the final tests of 1985, which would be in common between that year’s car, the FW10 and the following year’s one, he replied, friendly but laconically, that nothing more than any nut or bolt.
Presented in early 1986, the Williams FW11-Honda represented, in fact, a remarkable evolution over its predecessor. It was designed under the supervision of Patrick Head and Frank Dernie, respectively, technical director and chief designers of Williams, using the latest computer technologies, particularly in the use of CAD, and immediately proved to be the most competitive model in the grid, combining an extremely efficient chassis, easy to drive in any circuit, with the qualities and efficiency of the Japanese engine. The chassis was made in carbon fiber and the double wishbone suspensions were of the pushrods type in the front and pullrods in the rear. The gearbox, longitudinal and manufactured in partnership with Hewland, was manual and 6-speed and conveyed the power of the Honda engine, approximately 800 PS at 12,000 rpm, to the rear wheels. The engines, the RA 166-E in 1986 and the RA 167-E in the following year, had the same capacity of 1.494cc and the same configuration of 6 cylinders in V at 600 and were powered by turbochargers, whose pressure was limited to 4 bar in 1987.
In developing the car were of the utmost importance the experience and talent of the team drivers. Indeed, both the already two times champion of the world, Nelson Piquet, newcomer from Brabham and paid by Honda, as Nigel Mansell were, at the time, experienced drivers with proven talent for multiple wins.
The Williams FW11-Honda was the culmination of an evolution of 4 years of the Anglo-Japanese team, which secured the first titles for a Sunrise Country car manufacturer at maximum motorsport discipline. Interestingly, this model represented also the end of the relationship between Honda and Frank Williams’s team.
The year 1986 did not start auspiciously for the Didcot team. Indeed, a few weeks after the presentation of the new car, Frank Williams suffered a road accident, which resulted in quadriplegia that force him, since then, to move in a wheelchair. The lack of the firm boss presence in the first half of the Championship, associated with the tradition of not defining a drivers hierarchy in the team and the strong character of the two drivers, led to the Drivers' title loss to Alain Prost, in the last and dramatic race of the year.
The following year and with the evolution of FW11B-Honda, the team won both titles, Drivers and Constructors, but the displeasure of the Japanese with the loss of drivers title the previous year, coupled with the willingness to support the transfer of Ayrton Senna from Lotus to McLaren, dictated the early termination of the Honda relationship with Williams. For the History were 2 titles of Constructors, one Drivers' Championship and 18 victories in 32 Grand Prix.
The cutaway drawing of this work was commissioned by Mobil Oil Portugal and was published in Japan, Australia, Brazil, Spain, France, England and Germany. In Portugal the drawing was used in a poster in "Turbo" magazine.
During a break in the practice for the Portuguese GP of 1986, I met in the paddock with Frank Williams and Peter Windsor, which helped him move. Since always I admired the boss of Williams, for his fighting spirit and, naturally, I took the opportunity to offer him a poster with the drawing that I had made of his car. He thanked almost blankly and inaudible, after which I was called to a remote location, by his collaborator, who confided that Mr. Williams did not like anybody to do that kind of drawings of his cars...
Most successful was my drawing with Agnes Carlier, who was introduced to me by journalist José Miguel Barros, and must have enjoyed what she saw, as immediately invited me to do the cutaway drawings of the McLaren team cars. And so, I started in the following year, a six fantastic year’s collaboration with Philip Morris International, which allowed me to do the cutaway drawings of the golden age cars of the Woking team.
This drawing was also marked by the beginning of my friendship with photographer Carlos Alberto Matos, who was introduced to me by José Vieira, founder and director of the "Turbo" magazine, and that have given me, among many others, the pictures that I needed to draw the inside of the Williams chassis, less accessible area to photographers and rare to be published in magazines.
It was the last work that I used the color in manual and traditional way, with gouache and Ecolines to be applied with brushes. Since the next one, the Jaguar XJR-6 Group C, I began to apply the color in acrylic paint, using the airbrush, leaving to the final touches and little details the use of gouache and Ecolines with brushes.
Article by António Eiras - 20/01/2015