The car that he drove was a Williams FW07 designed by engineering guru Patrick Head in 1979, and voted car of the decade by F1 Magazine due to its ground effect design.
Powered by a 2,993cc Ford Cosworth V-8 producing an estimated 490 horsepower (365kW), this was a multiple Grand Prix winning car for Jones, who received the chequered flag in Germany, Austria and Canada in 1979.
The Lotus 79 had previously been unbeatable, until Patrick Head came along and basically decoded the Lotus’s ‘ground effect’ secrets to remarkable effect in the Williams FW07 car.
Head, worked out that a smaller front wing made the sidepods work more effectively, so he designed the Williams car with a minimal wing and longer sidepods.
That wasn’t all, another Williams engineer, Frank Dernie, produced a more efficient skirting system than the Lotus, which completely sealed the underfloor of the car for more downforce.
Head, also changed the braking system for better effect when he ditched the 79’s inboard rear disc brakes and employed outboard discs on the FW07 as he saw more benefit in having a larger exit space for the air and in brakes, which worked more effectively.
At Silverstone in 1979 Frank Williams and Patrick Head knew that had a winning car in the FW07 when Jones claimed pole position with a lap time two seconds faster than the next quickest cars.
Unfortunately Jones didn’t win the race due to a cracked water pump but the sister car driven by Swiss veteran Clay Regazzoni won by a staggering 25 seconds from Rene Arnoux.
This particular car, the FW07/4 currently owned by successful entrepreneur Peter Briggs, was driven by Jones to no less than four Formula One victories in 1979/80:
- 1979 German Grand Prix – (led throughout)
- 1979 Austrian Grand Prix
- 1979 Canadian Grand Prix (fastest lap)
- 1980 Argentine Grand Prix – (pole position & fastest lap)
Alan said of the car that it had “unbelievable downforce” and “fantastic turn-in ability” which made it a great race car.
On 18 April this legendary race car with auctioned by Sotheby’s in Melbourne at 2pm.
Alan Jones will be there to personally sign the car for the new owner.