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The COAT - Round One - Ferrari Tipo 500 vs Ferrari F2003-GA vs Williams FW16

For match twenty-three in Round One, we have another 3-way. This time, two cars from Ferrari are double-teaming against a Williams. The Ferrari Tipo 500 vs the Ferrari F2003-GA vs the Williams FW16.

Ferrari Tipo 500 (goodwood.com):
When Alfa had packed up its 160 and swanned off into retirement, there was space for a new manufacturer to dominate. That team would be Ferrari. As regulations had changed this car was not a Formula 1 car. F1 was running to F2 regs, and Ferrari were the only team to have a car already designed for the new formula. The 500, in the hands of Alberto Ascari, would repeat the feats of Alfa the previous two seasons, winning every single race that he entered. Ascari actually skipped the first round, in Switzerland, to have a go at the Indy 500 – a fruitless attempt where he qualified 25th and retired after a spin. Team-mate Piero Taruffi took his only F1 victory, before Ascari returned and won every other race that season.

The following season was a comparative disappointment, Ascari won only five of the eight races entered, the title and the 500 would only be defeated in the all-important home round in Italy. After two seasons the rules reverted to Formula 1 regs, and the 500 was retired with a 100 per cent championship record and a 93.3 per cent win record in the races it had entered. Impressive. And in reality the 500 did soldier on, as the following 625 F1 was just a modified 500 chassis with a 2.5-litre engine. It won two more races, one in ’54 and one in ’55 before being retired for good.

Ferrari F2003-GA (ferrari.com):
The Ferrari F2003-GA was the 49th Single-Seater constructed by Ferrari to take part in the World Formula 1 Championship.

The thinking behind the car was the same as for the F2002: optimisation of air flow, weight reduction and lowering of the centre of gravity. The rear end was revised and the suspension modified to get the best out of the Bridgestone tyres. The engine underwent a process of reducing the clutter even more and to fine tune the weight distribution. 2003 was a championship that went down to the last race in Suzuka but ultimately Schumacher took his 6th Drivers’ title (beating Fangio’s record) and Ferrari won its fifth straight Constructors’ crown.

Williams FW16 (snaplap.net):
Williams FW16 was a car that won the Constructors’ title for the Rothmans Williams team in 1994 Formula One World Championship.

The car designed by Adrian Newey and Patrick Head was the successor of the highly successful Williams FW15C which won both titles in the previous season. Unfortunately, the FW16 is best remembered as the car in which Ayrton Senna was killed in the crash at Imola.

FIA introduced many regulation changes for the new season, so the Williams FW16 wasn’t just a modified version of its predecessor. The new car had a revised bodywork with a low profile engine cover. The sidepods were taller, the driveshaft was enclosed but the main change probably was an innovative rear suspension wishbone design.

Renault RS6 engine was improved, as well as a fuel valve to enable refueling during the race after that rule was reintroduced before the start of 1994 season. The 6-speed semi-automatic gearbox was revised and lighter than the one used at FW15C. In accordance with the new regulations, the Williams FW16 did not have adjustable anti-roll bar controls accessible by the driver.

The whole car, including engine, was modified several times during the season. Williams FW16 was pretty hard to handle and had many reliability issues, especially at the beginning of the campaign. Ayrton Senna was very unhappy with FW16. Legendary Brazilian stated several times that he feels uncomfortable, tense and stressed in the car. The car was springy and unstable, with aerodynamic deficiencies that the new rear suspension could not mask.

Williams won the Constructors’ championship, Hill narrowly missed the title
Despite all the troubles, shortcomings, and Senna’s death at Imola, the season of 1994 wasn’t bad for Williams in the terms of results. The team won its 7th Constructors’ Championship title, mainly thanks to Damon Hill who was a runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship, controversially losing to Michael Schumacher by only one point.

After Senna’s death, debutant David Coulthard became the team’s second driver but for the last three races of the season, he was replaced by more experienced Nigel Mansell, in an effort to secure the Constructors’ title. Hill scored six wins and five 2nd places. Coulthard’s best result was the 2nd place in Portugal but he scored in other four races, while Mansell won the season-closing race in Australia and clinched the title for Williams.

During 1994 Formula 1 season, Williams FW16 won 7 out of 16 races and amassed a total of 13 podium finishes. Senna won three pole positions that year, Hill had two, and Mansell one pole position. The Williams FW16 drivers scored a total of eight fastest laps – Hill 6 and Coulthard 2.



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