2000 BMW Williams F1 FW22
2000 BMW WilliamsF1 FW22 #02
2,998cc E41/4 V10, 810 hp @ 17,500 rpm
1,320 lbs. (including driver)
Alpine White and Blue
As a company with “engines” in its name, BMW was probably destined to build an engine for motorsport’s premiere category. Although a turbocharged four-cylinder could have taken BMW to Formula One in 1969, the company didn’t make the leap until 1982. A year later, BMW’s turbocharged M12/13 won the F1 world championship in a Brabham BT52 driven by Nelson Piquet. Mission accomplished, BMW withdrew from F1 at the end of 1987, returning to its bread-and-butter GTs. Behind the scenes, however, Paul Rosche was tasked with creating a new F1 engine, and his top-secret team built a 3.5-liter V12 before F1 reduced engine capacity to 3.0 liters for 1995.
Two years later, BMW announced a new F1 partnership with British constructor Williams. When the BMW WilliamsF1 began testing in 1999, it was powered by a V10—a configuration that Rosche had found ideal as early as 1975. Rosche’s E41/4—a 72° V10 with 4 valves per cylinder opened by rockers on twin overhead cams and closed by pneumatic pressure—put out 750 hp at 17,500 rpm. Although a bit heavy at 257 lbs., it was one of the better engines in F1 upon its debut in the FW22 designed by Gavin Fisher and Geoff Willis. The car also used Williams’ first semi-automatic 7-speed gearbox.
By then, Rosche was 65 years old. He’d been at BMW for 42 years, and he was done with working 12-hour days and spending weekends at the track. “What interested me was building up a new factory with test beds, shops and all. I hired 180 people to work on the new powerplant and then designed it, as well. Williams will have a good engine in 2000,” Rosche said in 1999, just before his retirement.
Indeed they did. The 2000 season opened with Ralf Schumacher on the podium, but the team ended up 3rd behind Ferrari and McLaren, scoring just 36 points to its rivals’ 170 and 152.
The car shown here, BMW WilliamsF1 FW22 #02, was raced by Ralf Schumacher in eight races over the early part of the 2000 Grand Prix season. In it, Schumacher finished 3rd in Australia, Belgium and Italy, 5th in Brazil, France and Hungary, 7th in Germany and DNF’d in San Marino. The car is owned by BMW Classic and is used for static display, though the memory of its screaming V10 remains vivid to all who heard it run back in 2000.
The following years saw more radical 90° V10 engines from Rosche’s successors, Werner Laurenz and Heinz Paschen, and the 180-lb. P85 made 950+ hp at 19,800 rpm. BMW WilliamsF1 scored 9 Grand Prix victories from 2001 to 2003, but the Williams chassis was never as versatile as those from Ferrari and McLaren, and a title eluded BMW in its second F1 era.