…chance doesn't exist; there's always a cause and a reason for everything – Elahi

When Ayrton first drove for Williams

I took this shot of Frank Williams and Ayrton Senna shortly before Ayrton’s first F1 drive – his Williams FWO8C test at Donington in July, 1983.  There was no thought of an official “media announcement” or anything like that – both of them actually needed quite a lot of persuasion to pose by the race truck!  Note Ayrton’s Porsche t-shirt06-15-2013_24

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19 thoughts on “When Ayrton first drove for Williams

  1. Paul Jones on said:

    Lovely picture. but so so tragic that shoddy welding from the same team would cost him his life. 😦 RIP Ayrton.

  2. Thanks for message but I’m not sure what you’re on about with regard to “welding”. The tyre pressures were low due to the ridiculously slow safety car, he bottomed out over the bump and ran wide on the marbles. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re dreaming. That race should have been stopped after the start-line accident. Everyone knows that. For full details, read my extensive coverage of the accident in the Sunday Times colour magazine (Feb 16, 1997).

  3. Pingback: Senna poses with Frank Williams prior to first F1 test | Senna versus Schumacher

  4. Jonathan Powell on said:

    Thanks for the picture Peter,I love these black and white motorsport pics, especially of Ayrton. It goes nicely alongside Martin Brundle’s picture of him and Ayrton in F3 on his twitter profile.

    Keep up the great work!

  5. Thanks – a few more in the archives to be scanned!

  6. your posts are starting to get addicting. when a new shows up in my box i either read it immediately or save some part of my day to give it a proper read via my computer.
    i always forget that you have been involved in F1 for a while. foolishly when you were reporting from pit lane for speed i assumed that was the extent of your involvement. it was not till much later that i discovered that you also work for the teams. was williams one of them? anyway of course you would have a pic like this. please please lets see some more..
    i know this might sound naive but when ever i come across a older pic from formula one i just can’t help but think, it was a simpler time and of course that maybe incorrectly meant the racing was more pure. probably not but that is why i love these old photographs and as Mr.Powell states that is something so cool about the B & W aspect of it. cheers…

  7. That’s a very cool pic ! Don’t you have any “When Nigel first drove for Williams” ? Well, you know…

  8. Absolument! on said:

    That’s a pretty cool picture ! Don’t you have any “When Nigel first drove for Williams” ? Well, you know…

  9. Starting to scan a lot of my old negatives, so let’s see what turns up…

  10. Thanks John-Pierre. Yes, I helped Frank raise his early Saudi sponsorship in ’78-’81 and then joined Williams full-time in 1985. I then rejoined the team as Race and Test Team Manager in 1991-92. Simpler times, yes: the issues were the same, though. Understeer, oversteer, no traction, not enough budget, etc, etc. I guess the biggest difference is that it was a lot more dangerous then.

  11. sounds so cool…
    yes this much i surmise that one of the welcomed benefits of how big f1 has become, so also did the issue of safety also become just as big. i wait patiently for your next installment. 😉

  12. Paul Jones on said:

    I mean the steering wheel, sorry I don’t mean to drag up old memories. Ayrton was such a hero of mine, 19 years later and I still miss him every day.

  13. Paul Jones on said:

    Oh yes, Martins twitter image of himself and Ayrton is so lovely. 🙂

  14. Reblogged this on Speed… Stirred.

  15. That’s a great snap Peter – love it.

  16. Nick Warner on said:

    A beautiful picture Peter; happy days for both the individuals in the picture. Thanks for posting. I’ve been a massive fan of AS and, even after 19 years, I still think of him every day, as do a lot of others I suspect. Although I guess we’ll never know, I think your analysis of the accident is spot-on and as close as it gets to what happened. Low tyre pressures & ride height, high fuel load at the start of the race, an awkward car being driven by a racing genius on a knife edge at blistering speed to stay ahead of the B194. The evidence of the slow safety car was Senna himself, gesticulating from the FW16 cockpit for the safety car to speed up. Although this is my first post on your site I’m a regular visitor. Everything about your blog is top quality. The stuff on Villeneuve (especially the photos) was exceptional. Hopefully, you’ll be able to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Imola ’94 next year with something special? With huge thanks and my very best regards.

  17. Thanks Nick. Nice of you to say that – and, yes, we need to do something at Imola next year, don’t we?

  18. Nick Warner on said:

    Cheers for the message Peter. I forgot to ask, don’t suppose there is a link anywhere on the web to your article that you mention I your post above? “extensive coverage of the accident in the Sunday Times colour magazine (Feb 16, 1997).”

    All best.

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