Red 5 - Heel Tread

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August 13, 2020 2 min read

Few liveries in motorsport are so illustrious as Mansell's "Red Five", a Williams-Renault FW14B that was one of the most sophisticated cars ever to compete in F1 and took a record number of wins in the '92 season against legends Senna and Schumacher. It's not usual for F1 drivers to be associated with numbers.

But then again Nigel Mansell was not a usual man. One of the most successful British racing drivers - second only to Lewis Hamilton in F1 racing -, Mansell was loved by the fans for his fast and aggressive driving but also for his unique ability to create drama. In 1985 he joined Williams and was given car number 5 and his teammate the number 6 - Keke Rosberg, father of Nico Rosberg. It is uncertain if it was Mansell himself who demanded it, but the number 5 in his car livery was changed from white to red, to allegedly avoid confusion between the numbers 5 and 6 cars. This rather unique exception attracted great notoriety and quickly became known and referred to simply as "Red 5". Much to the British fans joy, the Red 5 reappeared in 1991 when Mansell returned to Williams and in the following season, he found himself at the helm of the FW14B, with a 3.5 V10 Renault power-unit and to this day one of the most sophisticated F1 cars ever created with active suspension, semi-automatic paddle-shift gearbox and traction control, many of these banned shortly after meaning that most F1 cars since are dumbed down by comparison. The 1992 season saw Mansell's first and only World Championship title - and also a Constructors title for Williams-Renault - with a record-shattering nine Grand Prix wins despite opposing efforts of giants like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

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