Ever fancied yourself as the owner of a Formula 1 machine? You’ll have your chance to become just that when this Williams F1 car goes up for sale at the Bonhams Auction during the 2022 Monaco Historic Grand Prix.
The Williams F1 team remains one of the most recognisable names in motorsport, and while its most successful period is now consigned to distant memory, we feel there’s still a fair amount of gravitas attached to a car with that name written on it.
Granted, the FW21 Williams car that raced in 1999 epitomised a team in transition as it wound down its association with Renault and built towards an exciting new partnership with BMW. In the wake of several years of success studded with five constructors’ titles and four drivers’ championships during the 1990s, the 1999 season was more of a struggle.
It was powered by a two-year-old V10 Renault engine, rebadged as ‘Supertec’ following Renault’s withdrawal from motorsport, and suffered from a considerable horsepower deficit as rival teams continued to develop their own engines. That said, it would still produce around 780PS (573kW), which we imagine feels pretty spectacular in a car weighing little more than 600kg.
Despite that, the team did achieve moderate success. Ralf Schumacher took to the podium on three occasions, and Williams finished the season in fifth place in the constructors’ standings.
This exact car is the Williams FW21-05, the chassis driven by racing and Olympic legend Alessandro Zanardi in 14 Grands Prix that year, including an eighth place finish in Monaco. Zanardi joined Williams for the 1999 season off of the back of two successive CART championship triumphs in America, but he was never quite able to adjust to the grooved tyres used in F1 at the time, and struggled to find any meaningful form.
Although it has been on static display for the best part of 15 years, the car does still feature the original 3.0-litre V10 engine, transmission, gearbox and brakes, so in theory it could still work given a bit of care and attention.
The fact this car is also resplendent in the short-lived Winfield livery, used for only two seasons from 1998 to 1999, gives it an extra layer of individuality.
It’s on the Bonhams books with an estimated price of €100,000 - €150,000 with no reserve, a small price to pay we think for a Formula 1 car that you could take to a racetrack and put through its paces.