A Williams FW08, pictured in 2008.
|Chassis||Aluminium honeycomb monocoque|
|Suspension (front)||Double wishbones, coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar|
|Suspension (rear)||Double wishbones, coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar|
|Engine||Cosworth DFY, 2,993 cc (182.6 cu in), 90° V8, NA, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted|
|Transmission||Hewland FGA 400 5-speed manual|
|Notable entrants||TAG Williams Racing Team|
|Notable drivers|| Derek Daly
|Debut||1982 Belgian Grand Prix|
|Drivers' Championships||1 (1982 - Keke Rosberg)|
The Williams FW08 was a Formula One car designed by Patrick Head which debuted at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix held at the Zolder circuit. An evolution of the FW07 that it replaced, the car was used by Finnish driver Keke Rosberg to win the 1982 World Drivers' Championship.
The FW08B was a six-wheeled (4 driven wheels at the rear and 2 undriven wheels at the front) variant that originated from the FW07D (also six-wheeled). It never raced. Patrick Head specifically said that the reason it was banned was because "someone in a FOCA meeting said it would drive up costs and cause chaos during pitstops". The FIA promptly limited the number of wheels for all cars to four, of which only 2 may be driven.  
The car was updated for the 1983 Formula One season to become the FW08C. Under new regulations all ground effects were out and flat bottom cars were in meaning nearly all the cars in F1 had to be heavily modified or replaced and the FW08 was no different. Against the turbo cars of Renault, Brabham and Ferrari, Williams were not expected to do as well as they did. Rosberg opened the season with pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix (the last for a Cosworth DFY engined car) and scored the cars last win with a great drive at Monaco. He would eventually finish 5th in the Drivers' Championship while Williams would finish 1983 in 4th place, the best of the Cosworth powered cars.
The FW08C also has the distinction of being the first Formula One car ever driven by the late Ayrton Senna at Donington Park in July 1983, after he badgered team boss Frank Williams for a test after being sat beside him on a flight. Senna completed 40 laps and lapped the circuit faster than anyone else had managed in the car, including 1983 race drivers Rosberg and Jacques Laffite. However Williams were not able to offer Senna a drive for 1984 as Rosberg and Laffite were under contract and the Brazilian signed to the Toleman team instead. Senna would not drive another Williams until he fatefully signed to drive for the team in 1994.
The FW08C was retired after the 1983 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. A third car was actually raced by the team at this race and was driven to 13th place by Jonathan Palmer. It was replaced by the Honda powered FW09 for the last race of the season in South Africa.
Early in 1983, Rosberg drove his FW08C to victory in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. To date this is the last non-championship Formula One race held.
In 1985 two FW08C were entered by PMC Motorsport in some races of the Formula 3000 championship, driven by Thierry Tassin and Lamberto Leoni. The results achieved were unremarkable apart from Lamberto Leoni's third place in the Pau street race.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)
- "STATS F1 • Williams FW08". Statsf1.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "STATS F1 • Williams FW08C". Statsf1.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- Hamilton, Maurice (ed.) (1982). Autocourse 1982-1983. Hazleton Publishing. ISBN 0-905138-32-5.
- Hamilton, Maurice (ed.) (1983). Autocourse 1983-1984. Hazleton Publishing. ISBN 0-905138-32-5.