The Williams team, so dominant in 1980 and 81, had struggled since then to maintain their position at the head of the field. They came late to the turbo club, and then their 1984 chassis had failed to effectively translate the power of the Honda V6 into speed. Sure, they still won races because sitting in the number 6 car was a man who could wring its neck and force it to go fast apparently by sheer willpower, and who would always give 100%. Sadly, the occupants of the number 5 car, Derek Daly and Jacques Laffite, had been disappointing in comparison, usually happy just to tootle round in midfield.
However, the team were positive about 1985. The new FW10 chassis, with its smart new navy, yellow and white livery, looked good in testing and in Nigel Mansell they hoped for a second driver who would support Rosberg and score constructors points for the team more regularly.
Although most felt he didn’t have the speed and natural talent of his team-mate Elio de Angelis, Mansell had improved immeasurably during his four years with Lotus and had turned heads with a series of combative drives in 1984, finally given a car he could do well in. He still has some rough edges to knock off, but he should be a good match for Rosberg – both are combative, brave drivers who don’t give up. Mansell had a habit of driving his Lotus to bits, but the Williams seemed tougher, if Rosberg’s driving was anything to go by, so he might fight right in. It will certainly be a make-or-break year for the Englishman.
The team leader retained his number 6 billing, and simply hoped the car would be a bit better this year. He had been vocal in his criticisms of the car, but he also recognised that everyone was doing their best and simply got in and did what he could with it. And what he good was usually very good indeed – even in Portugal he was there, muscling into the lead like he was fighting for the title rather than languishing in 8th in the table, and his win in Dallas was, like Monaco the previous year, a result of his tenacity, his superb qualifying performances, and his cool head in trying circumstances.