“Championship doubles don’t just suddenly turn up. Some sort of momentum has been built up before they happen: something is right. The ingredients are already right and it’s just a question of the combination.
“That year the engine was good. The aerodynamics were good and the packaging. We had a good sponsor and we had good continuity of personnel. So we had everything that we needed.
“The car that year, the FW18, was quick out of the box. When it hit the road it was the most sublimely beautiful thing that I have ever had to drive. It tted me like a glove.” “When I rejoined the team in late 1992 Nigel Mansell was off to the US and the sponsors were not happy to see the world champion going overseas. The commercial platform was unstable, so Frank and I sketched out a strategy and eventually brought Rothmans on board.
“What made us so dominant in the 1990s was our focus: Frank’s pressure on all of us to perform to our best 365 days per year and the motivation of the fantastic group of mechanics, machinists, PR, marketing and design people, who all understood we were there to do one thing. Win.”
“We got a bunch of good points early on in the season, but there weren’t very many people taking points away from Michael Schumacher, so we couldn’t really build up a huge lead.
“Throughout most of the year it was really a tyre battle – who was choosing the tyres, Michael or me? At some races we managed to put the emphasis on tyres we knew would blister on the Ferrari, and when it was Ferrari’s turn they picked tyres they knew we couldn’t warm up.
“It got to the point where it looked as though they would win the championship easily. We just fought back race after race. I’ve always been good as the underdog.”
“The public sees only the top two per cent of the work undertaken at each grand prix. The planning and preparation that represents the vast majority of our effort might not have the supercial glamour of the race weekend, but it is of fundamental importance.
“That said, I don’t want to take anything away from Villeneuve. He got the job done in a manner that should not be diluted by its controversial conclusion. He showed selfbelief, and a maturity that is the hallmark of any champion.
“The 1997 season gave us our hardest-fought set of titles and our most valued. Only 1980, our rst championship with Alan Jones, offered the same emotional charge.”
Richard West (Williams commercial director 1992-1996):