Williams F1 recently announced that Karun Chandhok, ex-F1 driver and current Channel 4 pit-lane reporter, would be joining as their the official driver for the team’s Heritage division. We caught up with Karun to find out which of the Williams heritage cars were trickiest to drive, and which gave him the most satisfaction!
What was the first Williams heritage car you drove and what do you remember of it?
I think it was Keke’s championship winner from 1982 – the FW08 at Goodwood. A fantastic car with superb driveability from the engine and a very user-friendly gearbox. The sun was shining and I remember having a proper go at getting some speed up the hill!
What were your memories of the Williams team growing up?
The 1987 British Grand Prix was the first ever race that I saw and it was obviously a Williams 1-2 after a brilliant race between Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet. I grew up watching F1 in the 1980s where Mclaren and Williams were the dominant two teams. For those 10 years from 1984, no other team won the World Championship remember. I remember looking at the 1993 FW15C and thinking just how utterly beautiful it was.
Of all the cars in the Williams heritage collection that you’ve driven, which gave you the most satisfaction and why?
Damon’s 1996 FW18 was incredible. The sound of the Renault V10 and the whole chassis just felt right.
Which of the cars has been the trickiest to get to grips with and why?
The FW13b from 1990 was a bit tricky just because of how much power it had and the small power band. This was one of the early Renault engines – the RS02 – and they quickly got on top of it, but in a small narrow hill like Goodwood, in the rain, that was an adventure!
Are there any cars in the collection that you’re eagerly waiting to drive?
Yes – the FW11 and the FW15C!
Have any of Williams’ former drivers given you any tips?
Not really, but I’ve enjoyed talking to them about the cars because I feel that I can relate to what they’re saying a bit more. I’ve spoken with Alain Prost, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese about the Williams cars they drove, and that’s always interesting.