Competing in 16 grand prix, the Williams FW14B won 10 of these. It is the car in which Mansell won his only title and gave Williams their fifth constructors’ title. One of the most technologically advanced F1 cars ever built, it had features such as traction control and active suspension.
A traction control system reduced the power to the driven wheels in order to prevent wheel spin. This ensures that there is always enough traction and stops the car from drifting. A reduction in wheel spin also lessens the amount of tyre wear. Under the current F1 regulations this is not permitted and nor is any device which alerts the driver of any wheel spin.
First introduced by Lotus in the 1980s, the active suspension system was perfected by Williams on the FW14B. The system, controlled by a computer, was able to change the stiffness of the suspension to suit the track surface at each point on the circuit. It meant that the ride height stayed the almost the same all the way around the lap, helping aerodynamics and allowing more downforce to be generated. Overall, the system made the car much faster throughout most of the lap by making the aerodynamics more efficient.
The Renault RS4 V10 engine produced approximately 760BHP, thought to have an advantage of at least 30BHP over the rest of the pack. This helped them to be even faster in the straights compared to their competitors.
Capable of gear changes in under three hundredths of a second, the semi-automatic gearbox used by Williams in 1992 was better than its competitors’. Ferrari had made the first semi-automatic gearbox for F1 in 1989 but had some serious issues in testing and was unreliable for the first half of the season. However, of the limited amount of races which they did finish, they won 3. Williams used a semi-automatic gearbox on the FW14, but overcame the issues with it for the FW14B.
A semi automatic gearbox doesn’t require the driver to use a clutch pedal but still requires them to change gear. The last manual gearbox in F1 was used in 1995.