The car was born out of necessity, as the 1989 and 1990 seasons had proven competitive for Williams, but they had underachieved in their own and Renault's eyes. Newey started work on the new car soon after joining the team from March in mid-1990. He had designed a series of aerodynamically efficient and very effective cars for March on a limited budget, so with Williams's greater resources and money he was able to fully develop his ideas. The design showed enough promise to tempt Nigel Mansell to shelve his plans to retire from the sport and rejoin Williams from Ferrari.
Powered by a 3.5-litre V10 Renault engine, the car is considered the most technologically sophisticated to have competed in Formula One. By 1992 the FW14B featured semi-automatic transmission, active suspension, traction control and, for a brief period, anti-lock brakes. With the aerodynamics as designed by Newey and the active suspension invented by designer/aerodynamicist Frank Dernie, the car was far ahead of its competitors, such as the McLaren MP4/7A, Ferrari F92A or Lotus 107, it made for a strong package. The FW14B was so successful that its successor (the FW15), which was available mid-season in 1992, was never used.