Williams 1997 FW-19 Jacques Villeneuve Championship Year 1:2 Scale End Plate


The Williams FW19 was the car with which the Williams team competed in the 1997 Formula One World Championship. It was driven by Jacques Villeneuve, in his second year with the team, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who moved from Sauber to replace the dropped 1996 champion, Damon Hill. Williams also employed test drivers Jean-Christophe Boullion and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The car was a logical development of the extremely successful FW18, which had comfortably won both titles in 1996. It was also the last Williams chassis to receive input from designer Adrian Newey, who left the team to join McLaren before the season began. His work was finished by Geoff Willis. The FW19 was the last Williams to run a works Renault engine before the French marque's temporary withdrawal. It also benefited from design input from Patrick Head. The new car was designed to be lighter and stiffer than the FW18.

However, 1997 was more difficult for Williams, as they faced a tough, season-long challenge from Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. After a controversial collision between Villeneuve and Schumacher in the season finale at Jerez, the Canadian took the Drivers' Championship, with the team claiming the Constructors' Championship at the previous race in Japan. Frentzen, by contrast, had a disappointing year, winning only one race to Villeneuve's seven. However, he did finish second in the Drivers' Championship due to Schumacher's exclusion from the standings.

Villeneuve later said that the FW19 was his favourite Formula One car, but that it was difficult to drive and get the maximum out of. He added that it felt like driving on ice for much of the time. Frentzen also found the car difficult to drive, and struggled setting it up to his liking all season.

The team eventually scored 123 points to win the Constructors' Championship.

The car was the last Williams to use the highly successful naturally aspirated Renault RS9 V10 engine along with the in-house Williams gearbox.[citation needed] The car used Elf fuel, Castrol oil, Penske shock absorbers and AP Racing carbon disc brakes.

To this date, the FW19 remains the last Williams car to win either championship.