From our premises in Bakewell, Derbyshire, Fifteen Eleven extensively restored the iconic racer with a ground-up re-build after dismantling and shipping the machine from its Saudi Arabian home.
After a painstaking eight-week restoration, the legendary car was then returned to Jeddah where it was the first Formula 1 car to sample the all-new race circuit used as the penultimate round of the 2021 F1 World Championship. It was then driven by a host of F1 legends such as David Coulthard, Emerson Fittipaldi and Damon Hill and featured in a Sky Sports documentary.
The raucous Williams FW07/04 was first used by Australian F1 star Alan Jones in 1979 and would be the car that propelled him to the prestigious Drivers title and Williams to the Constructors title in 1980.
Jones would pilot “04” in the Argentinian Grand Prix in January of 1980, taking pole position and subsequent the race win, laying the foundations for a stellar season in the World Championship.
From the home of its owner in Saudi Arabia, the Fifteen Eleven team would visit the iconic machine to fully inspect and gather a better understanding of the work required. From there, they would strip the FW07 to its aluminium monocoque chassis, to enable transport to its premises in the UK.
The painstaking process would then begin of restoring the Williams to its original glory which included 3D scans and modelling to ensure a faithful re-creation of unavailable parts. A total strip-down and rebuild of all components began, from the wiring loom to the iconic green leather steering wheel often associated with the FW07/04. A brand new 3-litre V8 Cosworth DFV engine was commissioned and built by Geoff Richardson Racing Engines, coupled with a full transmission overhaul by specialists Mark Bailey Racing.
Over one thousand hours were spent bringing this legendary Formula 1 car back to life, before being returned to the Middle East ahead of the much-hyped Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. There, it would showcase the brand-new circuit, with a host of A-list motorsport legends taking to the track in the Williams.
They would include Formula 1 World Champion and Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, winner of 13 Grand Prix’s David Coulthard and 1996 World Champion Damon Hill. In a special feature for Sky Sports, Hill would go head-to-head with pundit Martin Brundle in the sister 1979 Williams FW07/01 around the newly built circuit with the stands echoing to the sound of the glorious Cosworth unit.
With Sir Frank Williams CBE, founder of Williams Racing’s sad passing at the end of November, Formula 1 would also call on the FW07/04 to complete a lap of the circuit ahead of the race on Sunday with Hill at the wheel as a mark of remembrance of the inspirational mastermind and car builder.