The Williams FW11 had been dominant in 1986 despite failing to capture the Drivers’ title go with the Constructors’ Championship, and the car, now slightly updated as the FW11B, still looked good over the winter break. There were tensions within the team, though; Honda, who it was rumoured, were paying the bulk of Piquet’s retainer, were unhappy that Williams – being run by Patrick Head while Frank Williams recovered from his accident – had consistently refused to order Mansell to back off and be subordinate to the Brazilian. Honda were already reportedly unhappy that Williams had chosen to sign Mansell in the first place over their man Satoru Nakajima, who would have been a definite number two. Still, the Williams-Honda-Piquet-Mansell combination looked very strong going into 1987 and would hope to go one better.
5. Nigel Mansell
Mansell had been seen before 1986 as a good driver with a lot of heart but not really championship material. He had proved otherwise during the season, winning more races than anyone else and looking every inch the consummate professional in the process. His famous blowout in the Australian Grand Prix that cost him the title would spur him on to do even better in 1987.
6. Nelson Piquet
The Brazilian double champion was known for being fun-loving and easygoing, but he became increasingly frustrated during 1986 with what he saw as the Williams team’s favouring of Mansell over himself, when he believed he had been signed as the undisputed number one driver. When Mansell’s tyre blew in Australia and he had to pit for new boots himself, the team lost both shots at the drivers’ title – a position Piquet (with the backing of Honda) believed they shouldn’t have been in.