The Ex – Heinz-Harald Frentzen, San Marino Grand Prix Winning, 2nd in the Drivers’ World Championship 1997 Williams FW19

The Ex – Heinz-Harald Frentzen, San Marino Grand Prix Winning

World Championship Runner Up 

1997 Williams FW19 Formula 1

Williams Grand Prix Engineering

It is impossible to be a fan of Formula 1 and not appreciate the staggering achievements of the Williams Formula 1 team over the years. A family-run business that lives to race and has gone on to be one of the household names in motorsport. An engineering company that through its skill, passion, and determination, has continued to pursue the highest achievement in racing. For so many of us it goes much deeper than that, they have been our team. Through the grit, determination and innovative talent of all involved they have continually been a decisive influence in shaping the sport of F1 which we continue to enjoy to this day. 

For over four decades Williams F1 has remained at the forefront of the most competitive and unforgiving arena in motorsport. During this time they have won 16 FIA Formula One World Championships (nine for constructors, in partnership with Cosworth, Honda and Renault, and seven for drivers, with Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve). The team has scored 114 victories, 308 podiums and 128 pole positions, making it one of the most successful Formula 1 teams of all time. 

As with all great racing teams and importantly race car manufacturers, Williams started with one man’s passion for motor racing and sheer love of the sport, Sir Frank Williams. After a brief career as a driver and mechanic, Sir Frank founded Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966. After buying, selling and running cars in Formula 2 and Formula 3 for several years, he purchased a Brabham Formula One chassis and ran his friend and driver Piers Courage throughout the 1969 Formula One season, finishing 2nd in both the Monaco and US Grand Prix.

This small private team went on to campaign both De Tomaso and March cars in Formula 1 and 2 from 1970 and 1971 building their first Formula 1 car in 1972. After a season with Wolf racing in 1976 Sir Frank left to set up Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977 with chief designer and co-founder, Sir Patric head. Based in an empty carpet warehouse in Didcot, Oxfordshire, they purchased March chassis in order to compete in F1 during the latter half of the season.

At the same time the team, just consisting of 17 people, set about designing a car to contest the 1978 FIA Formula One World Championship. Financed by a consortium of Middle Eastern backers, the first car, the FW06, was shaken down at the end of the year with Australian ace Alan Jones behind the wheel.

During the first season the team grew from 17 to 50 employees and for 1979 they created the car that would put them firmly on the map, the FW07. With Clay Regazzoni securing the teams first ever World Championship win at their home circuit of Silverstone, the FW07 series of cars went on dominate all before it. They took both the 1980 and 1981 Constructors Championship titles as well as the drivers title for Alan Jones in 1980. So dominant was the FW07 that its design can be seen a clear influence across the grid for the remainder of the ground effect era.

1982 saw the team’s second World Championship with Keke Rosberg. As Formula 1 moved fully into the Turbo era Williams started its fruitful relationship with Honda, producing some of themes iconic Formula 1 cars of all time. This partnership saw Constructors Championship titles in both 1986 and ’87 as well as the drivers title for Nelson Piquet in 1987. 

1989 saw Williams form another lucrative partnership, this time with Renault as its engine provider. With the engines now in V10 normally aspirated configuration this partnership would be Williams most successful partnership to date, bringing Williams both the Constructors Championship Titles and the Drivers Title for Mansell, Prost, Hill and Villeneuve respectively,  in 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997.

Over the years Williams has nurtured many great talents, both in the cockpit and in the design office. The team gave Ayrton Senna his first F1 test in 1983; it was with Williams that Nigel Mansell scored his first grand prix win, in 1985, and his only world title in 1992, and it was with Williams that Damon Hill took all but one of his 22 race victories and the ’96 world title. The list could go on.

Some of F1’s cleverest technical brains also cut their teeth at Williams. The list of Williams’ design alumni includes Adrian Newey, Ross Brawn, Neil Oatley and Frank Dernie, and the talent continues to this day. 

This Car: FW19-05 

FW19-05 – 1997 FIA Formula 1 World Championship

27th April             San Marino Grand Prix       Imola                Q:2nd        R:1st

11th May              Monaco Grand Prix             Monaco             Q:Pole      R:DNF

25th May             Spanish Grand Prix              Barcelona          Q:2nd       R:8th

15th June             Canadian Grand Prix           Montreal             Q:4th       R:4th

29th June             French Grand Prix               Magny-Cours     Q:2nd       R:2nd

13th July              British Grand Prix               Silverstone          Q:2nd      R:DNF

27th July              German Grand Prix             Hockenheim        Q:5th       R:DNF

10th August         Hungarian Grand Prix         Hungaroring        Q:6th       R:DNF

24th August         Belgian Grand Prix              Spa                       Q:7th      R:3rd

7th September      Italian Grand Prix               Monza                   Q:2nd     R:3rd

21st September    Austrian Grand Prix            A1-Ring                Q:4th      R:3rd

28th September    Luxembourg Grand Prix    Nürburgring           Q:3rd      R:3rd

12th October         Japanese Grand Prix          Suzuka                   Q:6th      R:2nd

26th October         European Grand Prix         Jerez                       Q:3rd     R:6th

Overall Driver’s Championship Position: 2nd 

Overall Constructor’s Championship Position: 1st

The FW19 was an evolution of the previous year’s FW18 which had taken victory in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships. As the last Williams chassis to benefit from the design input of legendary Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey, it started the year as the car to beat. Fitted with a lighter and lower Renault RS9, RS9A and RS9B 3.0-litre V10 (71°) naturally aspirated engines, powering through the Williams/Komatsu 6-speed transverse semi-automatic gearbox. 

The carbon-fibre and honeycomb composite chassis is culmination of Adrian Newey’s hugely successful time at Williams. With inboard torsion bar, double wishbone suspension at the front and inboard coil-spring/double wishbone at the rear and with a formula weight of just 600kg, the dominant performance of FW19 was clear from the start, with Jacques Villeneuve qualifying a full 2.1 seconds quicker than the fastest of the opposition for the season’s opening race in Australia.

Villeneuve went on to take seven wins and ten pole positions on his way to victory in the Drivers’ Championship following a heated season long battle with Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher. 

With the departure of reining World Champion Damon Hill at the end of the previous season Villeneuve’s team mate for the 1997 was the talented German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Having clearly shown his  talent for the previous two seasons at Sauber, he did not disappoint upon arrival, taking 2nd in the drivers Championship in his first year. 

This car, chassis FW19-05, was his car for the majority of that impressive season. The first race for FW19-05 was at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola on the 27th of April. Despite Villeneuve continuing his impressive string of pole positions Heinz-Harald went on to take victory just over a second ahead of the charging Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine.  This was Frentzen’s first and only win for Williams. 

From Imola to Monaco on the 11th of May where Frenzen and FW19-05 took the all important pole position. With the race starting in wet conditions sadly both Williams retired in different incidents.   

At Barcelona in Spain Williams continued their dominance in qualifying with Villeneuve taking his 5th pole position of the season and Frentzen in FW19-05 locking out the front row in 2nd. While Villeneuve went on to take his 3rd victory of the season Frentzen had to settle for 8th. From Spain to Montreal, Frentzen in FW19-05 qualified 4th and finished 4th.

29th of June and the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. This  time it was Frentzen and FW19-05 who led the way, qualifying 2nd to Schumacher’s Ferrari and remaining hot on his tail throughout what would end up as a wet race to finish 2nd. 

On 13th of July the team returned home for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where yet again it was a Williams front row lock out, with Frentzen in FW19-05 in 2nd place. Sadly his race got off to a disastrous start having stalled on the grid he was then hit later in the lap, from behind, by Jos Verstappen, causing him to retire on lap 1.

From Silverstone to Hockenhiem on the 27th of July for the German  Grand Prix, where Frentzen in FW19-05 qualified 5th and was forced to retire from the race after a coming together with Eddie Irvine’s Ferrari in the first corner. 

FW19-05’s bad luck continued at Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Having qualified 6th he failed to finish the  race. Villeneuve went on to win, taking Williams 100th Grand Prix victory. 

Luck turned back around at Spa on the 24th of August in what was to be a string of five successive podiums for Frentzen and FW19-05. Having qualified 7th, he went on to finish 3rd behind a victorious Michael Schumacher in what is considered by many as one of Schumacher’s greatest races. 

From Spa to the equally iconic Monza for the Italian Grand Prix on the 7th of September where Frentzen and FW19-05 qualified ahead of his team mate in 2nd and went on to finish 3rd. 

The 21st of September and Austria. This time it was Villenuve’s turn to dominate with a pole and a win, with Frentzen taking 3rd from 4th on the grid. 

The 28th of September and it was back to Germany, to the Nurburgring, for the Luxembourg Grand Prix. Having qualified 3rd and after an eventful start which saw Ralf Schumacher come together with his brother, Frentzen and FW19-05 had to settle for 3rd, dropping back after banging wheels with his team mate and knocking off his ignition switch.

From Europe it was off to Japan for the penultimate race of the season at Suzuka. Starting from 6th on the grid, Frentzen and FW19-05 went on to take an impressive 2nd place, splitting the Ferrari of Schumacher and Irvine and setting the fastest lap of the race. While Schumacher’s win put him one point ahead of Villeneuve in the drivers championship, Frentzen’s 2nd place was enough to secure Williams their 9th, and final to date, Constructors World Championship.

From Japan it was back to Europe for the final race of the season the European Grand Prix, held at Jerez in Spain on the 26th of October. The weekend got off to an exciting start with the first three drivers all setting the identical time of 1:21.072 in qualifying. This was the first time in history this had happened. The rules stated that the drivers would start in the order in which they had set said times, so it was Villeneuve on pole, next to Schumacher and Frentzen and FW19-05 in 3rd. 

The race was no less eventful. Schumacher got the better start and took the lead with Frentzen in 2nd. On lap 8, Frentzen let Villenve through under team orders and the chase was on. By lap 48 he was less than a second behind the Ferrari and braking later than Schumacher into the Curva Dry Sack, Villeneuve held the inside line and was ahead on the track when Schumacher turned in on him resulting in a collision. Unlike the year before when Schumacher collided with Hill, this time his front wheel hit the radiator pod of the Williams causing Schumacher to retire from the race. Villeneuve would carry on to take 3rd and the Drivers Championship with Frentzen coming home 6th. After the race Michael Schumacher, was disqualified from the 1997 Drivers Championship for his actions, meaning that Heinz-Harold Frentzen was promoted to an impressive 2nd overall in the championship in his first year at Williams.

As the 1997 FIA Formula 1 World Championship drew to a close, Williams had done it again. They were on top of both the Drivers and Constructors Championships, and very much on top of their game. 

After the close of the season, FW19-05 remained at Williams F1 base in Grove, where for a long time it was displayed suspended from the ceiling of the entrance to the teams museum and conference centre. In more recent times, FW19-05 has been taken down and moved to the Williams Heritage workshops to commence its restoration.

The ultra rare Renault V10 engine has been expertly restored by Judd Engineering and awaits installation to the car. 

Upon completion of sale, the restoration will be completed with the manufacture of new front and rear wings and final assembly of the car back into full running condition.  

Now very much in the capable hands of the Williams Heritage Department, your journey has only just begun!

So much more than buying just the car!

Purchasing FW19-05 is not just the extremely rare opportunity to acquire a significant piece of Formula 1 race winning and more importantly FIA Constructors Championship winning history, directly from one of the most famous Formula 1 teams of all time; it is the opportunity to become part of so much more. In purchasing this car you become part of the impressive Williams Heritage program. 

Clients are offered an exclusive opportunity to be part of a truly historic race team, supported entirely by a fully managed service team for restoration, maintenance and on-track activities worldwide. Vehicles are provided restored and in fully functional condition with all operational equipment included. Furthermore, if new components are required, Williams allows access to its current F1 design resource and drawings for remanufacture of original parts.

Led by Jonathan Williams and based on site in Grove, the breadth of knowledge on hand is staggering. The programme takes an active approach to client running and provides a flexible schedule tailored to clients’ needs and objectives. Williams Heritage works closely with carefully selected third parties to offer both group and private track days to owners, as well as demonstration opportunities (such as Goodwood Festival of Speed and Monaco Historic).

Williams Heritage driver, former Formula 1 driver and Sky F1 presenter, Karun Chandhok provides expert driving tuition depending on previous experience. The programme also provides access to Williams’ current Formula One simulator for driver training and individual driver training days in smaller formula cars to aid learning.

With Williams Heritage’s exclusive private events, world class events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Monaco Historics and the Masters Series recently announcing it will be holding demonstrations for later F1 cars from the 3.5-litre era right up to the present day, at 4 event in 2020; surely there is no better time than to get out there in one of the most dominant Formula 1 cars of the V10 era, the 1997 Williams Renault FW19.

This is the extremely rare opportunity to purchase a car so instrumental in clinching the Constructors World Championship, in a duel championship winning year, directly from the team themselves. Making this the only chance to be the first private owner of this race winning, pole sitting, multiple podium placing, significant piece of Formula 1 history.