Sebastian Vettel drives Nigel Mansell’s Williams at Silverstone

Four-time Formula 1 champion Vettel bought Mansell’s 1992 championship winning Williams FW14B two years ago and drove it for the first time ahead of the British Grand Prix earlier this month.

It was Vettel’s birthday and it’s been thirty years since Mansell won the race in the iconic car with the red number five on its nose and powered by a Renault V10 engine.  Vettel incorporated Mansell’s famous Union Jack livery and signature on his tribute helmet.  Mansell was in attendance, watching the demonstration runs from the pitwall and embracing Vettel after the run.

Vettel stated: “It felt like time travel.” “I got to feel how Nigel must have felt a little bit 30 years ago.  I think these cars are incredible.  The sound inside is incredible…A perfect birthday present.”  Obviously, I’ve never driven the car and it was more about getting used to it.  But it was good fun.  You know, the tyres took a while to warm up.  But once they came in the car was just screaming at me, why are you lifting, why aren’t you going faster?  The use of the number five holds a sentimental value to both Mansell and Vettel.  Vettel won his first championship with a red five on the nose of the 2010 Red Bull, he was number five throughout karting and he’s currently number five.

Nigel Mansell commented: “There are very few drivers that spend their own money and actually buy an F1 car and do what he’s done.  It’s just absolutely incredible.  “I thought the car looked beautiful.  Obviously, I think the shock is our cars were definitely smaller.  The sound and the noise of the car was pretty impressive.

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