[New!] Ranking Nigel Mansell's F1 Cars

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Re: [New!] Ranking Nigel Mansell's F1 Cars

Post by PTRACER » 8 months ago

Latest post of the previous page:

Well, this is turning into a very interesting discussion and I am enjoying it. The current rank is here. We still have two Lotuses to slot in, but we will come back to those.

So, let's look at the FW12 from 1988.

On Rio's 900 metre long straight, the FW12 was 25kph slower than the Lotus and McLaren and although Mansell could qualify it well, especially on the twistier circuits, Williams suffered seven double retirements out of 16 races. Mansell himself could only finish two races all year, though Patrese squeezed a few better results out of it.

So, good chassis, but unreliable, under powered NA engine and it made no impact at the front of the field. This surely deserves a place in the bottom 3, below the 1995 McLaren, especially after such a strong 1987. What do you think?

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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 8 months ago

PTRACER wrote:
8 months ago
Well, this is turning into a very interesting discussion and I am enjoying it. The current rank is here. We still have two Lotuses to slot in, but we will come back to those.

So, let's look at the FW12 from 1988.

On Rio's 900 metre long straight, the FW12 was 25kph slower than the Lotus and McLaren and although Mansell could qualify it well, especially on the twistier circuits, Williams suffered seven double retirements out of 16 races. Mansell himself could only finish two races all year, though Patrese squeezed a few better results out of it.

So, good chassis, but unreliable, under powered NA engine and it made no impact at the front of the field. This surely deserves a place in the bottom 3, below the 1995 McLaren, especially after such a strong 1987. What do you think?
Im not so sure the chassis was that good. Well more the suspension was crap. The active / reactive (call it what you will, Lotus has a copyright on the words "Active Suspension") was ok on the FW11 when they introduced it but they modified the system for the FW12, and made an over-complicated pig's ear of it. The main problem was with sealing the pressurised system, and constant air leaks meant the system would be random at best with drivers arriving at the same corner from lap to lap with different settings, mking the car totally unpredictable to drive. The computer to run the active was heavy and absorbed power from the by then non turbo already underpowered Judd V8, thus compounding the power loss and top speed.

I think at some stage they decided to ditch the system, and reverted to a hastily built mechanical system which was an improvement but then Mansell got sick and had to miss races.

In a nutshell the "12" was not a car Williams would be proud of. It was a shitbox!

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Post by Michkov » 8 months ago

The FW12 was a test mule for the naturally aspirated regulations bound to come in 89 IIRC. Not sure how that came about since Williams was capable of building a fast car as seen in 86/87 season. I feel like that the loss of Honda hurt quite a bit and seeing that the car was unreliable and slow it surely has to be the worst Williams. It's definitely below the Mclaren that was at least fast if not reliable. As far as the Lotii go early 80s F1 is an era I know little about so I'll leave that to the others.

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Post by DoubleFart » 8 months ago

Took a podium, but otherwise was awful. Only good enough for 7th in the constructors... definitely bottom three.
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Post by Cheeveer » 8 months ago

PTRACER wrote:
8 months ago

So, let's look at the FW12 from 1988.

On Rio's 900 metre long straight, the FW12 was 25kph slower than the Lotus and McLaren and although Mansell could qualify it well, especially on the twistier circuits, Williams suffered seven double retirements out of 16 races. Mansell himself could only finish two races all year, though Patrese squeezed a few better results out of it.

So, good chassis, but unreliable, under powered NA engine and it made no impact at the front of the field. This surely deserves a place in the bottom 3, below the 1995 McLaren, especially after such a strong 1987. What do you think?

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Well, no. I disagree. Since it was a good car with potential, it should slot in just above the McLaren IMO. After all, no McLaren driver in 1995 could do what Mansell did with the Williams in 1988 - that is, start on the front row. Even Mansell said it was a championship winning car with no engine.
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Post by Matt » 8 months ago

I'd potentially put it between the 92 and the 81 in 15th. I think the main telling thing with the FW12 was that it wasn't the fastest normally-aspirated car that year and not even the quickest Judd car. Was also horribly unreliable.

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Post by Antonov » 8 months ago

PTRACER wrote:
8 months ago
Antonov wrote:
8 months ago
Honesty requires me to say I know too little of the first row of cars (1980-1983).
But what I do seem to understand is that Mansell wasn’t exactly good friends with Lotus management.
Well, the 1982 Lotus 91 was a Grand Prix winner while the 1984 Lotus was a very good car indeed and finished 3rd in the Constructors'. There's a possibility these will be well up the list, so we will come to them later.

The reason it gets a little foggy is because in 1983, they used three cars - the Lotus 92, the 93T and the 94T. I discounted the 93T from this because Mansell only drove it in one race, but I do not know the difference between any of the three above or why they ran so many cars in one season.

And frankly, 1983 is a year I have avoided learning anything about because I bought the full races on DVD about 15 years ago and planned to watch them one day without spoilers.
I have all the BBC highlights of the '83 season :happy:
it's also one of those seasons I know not too much about.

to be honest, the naming of the Lotus' can sometimes get confusing, with the 92 being used in 83, the 98 in 86, etc. :amazed:

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Post by caneparo » 8 months ago

That car was a transitional car from the Honda to the Renault engine which was in progress to be developed that year. Impossible to compete against the McLaren, the Judd engine was also crap
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Post by XcraigX » 8 months ago

PTRACER wrote:
8 months ago
So, let's look at the FW12 from 1988.

On Rio's 900 metre long straight, the FW12 was 25kph slower than the Lotus and McLaren and although Mansell could qualify it well, especially on the twistier circuits, Williams suffered seven double retirements out of 16 races. Mansell himself could only finish two races all year, though Patrese squeezed a few better results out of it.

So, good chassis, but unreliable, under powered NA engine and it made no impact at the front of the field. This surely deserves a place in the bottom 3, below the 1995 McLaren, especially after such a strong 1987. What do you think?

Image
It's hard for me to be objective about the FW12 as it was such a drop in momentum and performance from the FW10 and FW11/11B.
For me the car should be 2nd from bottom (or at least among the bottom 3).
Unreliable and slow. Even if it had been reliable, does anyone think the results would be good?
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Post by White six » 8 months ago

Probably a fault of most top drivers, but Mansell couldn't be arsed much to make a difference when the equipment was poor

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Post by JBT » 8 months ago

Not always the case white six. The FW12 was cack but two P2's when the car lasted compared to a best of fourth from any of the other drivers over the year shows Mansell was making the difference with a poor car, at least in '88 anyway. But apart from the Marlboro Mcfatso and the Judd Imploder, after '84 he didn't really have bad cars anyway, I guess.
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Post by XcraigX » 8 months ago

I may be late to the party, but for me it's the Lotus 81 at the 3rd from bottom spot. The attempt at ground effects was really poor and the car only managed a single podium due to attrition in Interlagos.

One point about the Lotus 92, is that it was the last car designed before Chapman died and it was the first attempt at active suspension ever. I think the latter contributed to it's many DNFs.
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Post by PTRACER » 8 months ago

I think this order seems fair. I think the 87 deserves to be above the 81 because it actually finished the race quite a few more times, with more solid results. The FW12 retired from about as many races as the Lotus 81 and when it did finish, the results were pretty similar (5th or 6th at best).

12th
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13th
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14th
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15th
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16th
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Williams made a mistake by going normally aspirated in 1988.
White six wrote:
8 months ago
Probably a fault of most top drivers, but Mansell couldn't be arsed much to make a difference when the equipment was poor
I can find a lot of evidence to support this actually. For those cars where the handling was described as bad, Mansell did badly while his team mate seemed to finish more races and got better results too.
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Post by Matt » 8 months ago

He also gave up twice in 1990 because of the handling of his car, which I remember more than a few folks being disappointed at. Not to mention that Piquet did most of the work on the active suspension at Williams during 1987.

I think that list is pretty fair so far. The problem with Nigel's cars is that barring a few, there aren't really any true stinkers so we are having to choose between some very good cars. That does make this a very interesting exercise, mind - great choice going for Mansell!

(I think we all know which car is going to be number 1, right?)

As for what's next - I think possibly looking at the two remaining Lotuses that Nigel drove might help somewhat. We have the 94T from the last half of 1983:

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And 1984's Lotus 95T

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It's pretty obvious to me that the 95T was the better of these two, and arguably should have won a couple of races. I'd definitely rate that as the best of the cars looked at so far. The 94T is a somewhat trickier proposition as it was only used for half a season. However, it formed the basis of the successful cars Lotus ran over the next few years, got a podium and also a pole position so I'd make a case that it should - at the moment - be slotted in as the second-best car Nigel's driven from the list we've made, below the 95T but above the MP4/10.

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Post by White six » 8 months ago

I think Frank Dernie would be the bloke to speak to to get a more impartial view, but Piquet certainly thought he did all the development work on the Fw11 and Mansell took the results (if not the title)

They talk of Piquet, Dernie and a small band of mechanics almost being a separate team. Frank W was too ill at the time to deal with it properly

Mind his history was to let toxic rivalries flourish anyway!

Would love to see a documentary on those 2 seasons with Head and Dernie talking to each other

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Post by Matt » 8 months ago

I always remember what someone who was at Williams (it might have been Dernie) said about Piquet and Mansell. This is to paraphrase a little, but it was along the lines of 'When Nelson left, the mechanics threw him a party. When Nigel left, the mechanics threw themselves a party'. :smiley:

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