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The Hesketh 308C was a Formula One racing car designed by Harvey Postlethwaite and used by Hesketh Racing in the latter stages of the 1975 Formula One season. The car featured the rubber suspension which Postlethwaite had pioneered on the preceding 308B model and a Ford-Cosworth DFV engine. In 1976, the car was acquired by Wolf–Williams Racing and rebranded as the Wolf–Williams FW05.

Hesketh 308C
Wolf–Williams FW05
Wolf-Williams FW05 at Goodwood 2010 crop.jpg
Wolf–Williams FW05 at Goodwood in 2010
CategoryFormula One
Designer(s)Harvey Postlethwaite
PredecessorHesketh 308B (Hesketh)
Wolf–Williams FW04 (Wolf–Williams)
SuccessorHesketh 308D
Technical specifications[1][2]
ChassisAluminium monocoque, with engine as a fully stressed member.
Suspension (front)1975: lower wishbones, top rockers, in-board rubber springs over dampers, anti-roll bar.
1976: lower wishbones, top rockers, in-board coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar
Suspension (rear)1975: single top links, double lower links, twin radius arms, rubber springs over dampers, anti-roll bar.
1976: single top links, double lower links, twin radius arms, coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar
EngineFord Cosworth DFV 2,993 cc (182.6 cu in) 90° V8, naturally aspirated, mid-mounted.
Transmission1975: Hewland FGA 400 5-speed manual
1976: Hewland DG 400 5-speed manual
Weight1975: 580 kg (1,280 lb)
1976: 595 kg (1,312 lb)
FuelDuckhams (1975)
FINA (1976)
LubricantsDuckhams (1975)
FINA (1976)
Competition history
Notable entrantsHesketh Racing
Wolf–Williams Racing
Notable driversUnited Kingdom James Hunt
Belgium Jacky Ickx
France Michel Leclère
Italy Arturo Merzario
Debut1975 Italian Grand Prix
n.b. Unless otherwise stated, all data refer to
Formula One World Championship Grands Prix only.

Racing historyEdit

Hesketh 308CEdit

The 308C wasn't seen until the latter part of the 1975 season. Like the 308B on which it was based, the 308C was very narrow at the front, tapering out to wide and low sidepods, with the main radiators in front of the rear wheels. The rubber suspension was inboard, and operated by rocker arms.[3] It was entered by Hesketh Racing for Englishman James Hunt to drive. The 308C made its debut at the Italian Grand Prix and Hunt finished fifth.[4] For the final race of the 1975 season, in the United States the Englishman finished fourth.[5]

Wolf–Williams FW05Edit

Before the start of the 1976 season, Canadian oil millionaire Walter Wolf bought 60% of Frank Williams Racing Cars and the team became Wolf–Williams Racing. However, Frank Williams was retained as team manager. soon afterwards Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite arrived as chief engineer. Simultaneously Wolf bought the assets of the Hesketh team that had recently withdrawn from F1.

The team was based in the Williams facility at Reading but used most of the cars and equipment once owned by Hesketh Racing. The team inherited the Hesketh 308C car used by Hesketh Racing during the final races of 1975, rebranding it as the Wolf–Williams FW05 and the Williams FW04 was similarly rebranded as the Wolf–Williams FW04, although it was only used in the opening race of the season, the 1976 Brazilian Grand Prix.[6]

The team had two new drivers, for Brazil Italian Renzo Zorzi drove the FW04 and Belgian Jacky Ickx drove the FW05. Zorzi outqualified Ickx (17th and 19th), and both cars finished the race with Ickx eighth and Zorzi ninth. After this race, Wolf–Williams had two FW05s at their disposal and so the FW04 was put aside.

However, Zorzi was replaced by Frenchman Michel Leclère for the remaining first half of the season because the Italian's sponsorship funds ran out. At South Africa the Belgian outqualified the Frenchman (19th and 22nd), and both cars finished the race with the Frenchman 13th eighth and the Belgian 16th.[7] Both Drivers failed to qualify for the United States Grand Prix West because the Formula One Constructors Association had decided to limit the field to twenty starters for safety reasons, because of the narrow concrete canyons necessitated by the street layout.

At Spain Ickx outqualified Leclère (21st and 23rd), and both cars finished the race with Ickx seventh eighth and Leclère tenth. The Belgian failed to qualify for his home race, the Belgian Grand Prix and the Frenchman qualified 25th and finished 11th. Ickx failed to qualify for Monaco and Leclère qualified 18th and finished 11th, Wolf–Williams had only one car for the Swedish Grand Prix as Ickx was busy winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Gijs van Lennep in a Porsche 936, The Frenchman qualified 25th and retired with engine failure. Ickx returned for the French Grand Prix and outqualified Leclère (19th and 22nd), and both cars finished the race with Ickx tenth eighth and Leclère 13th.

Wolf–Williams had reduced their efforts to one car for Britain because Leclère left the team, The Belgian failed to qualify and was fired after the race.

Ickx was replaced by Italian Arturo Merzario and the team still only had one car, The German Grand Prix saw Merzario qualify 21st and the race was red flag on the second lap because Brett Lunger's Surtees and Harald Ertl's Hesketh both hit Niki Lauda's Ferrari. Guy Edwards's Hesketh managed to avoid the Ferrari. All three drivers stopped and tried to get Lauda out of the flames and they were joined by Merzario, who stopped the Wolf–Williams after seeing the wreck. The Italian managed to make the restart but retired on lap three because of brake failure. Merzario retired in Austria and Holland with crashes.

The Italian Grand Prix qualifying session on Friday was wet, so the dry session on Saturday was to provide the field with their best times. After this session, Brett Lunger's Surtees, Merzario and Otto Stuppacher's privately entered Tyrrell had failed to qualify. John Watson's Penske and the McLaren's of James Hunt and Jochen Mass qualified in eighth ninth and tenth positions, but their times were later disallowed due to fuel irregularities.

This meant that their Friday times counted for their grid positions. As a result, these three drivers were the three slowest and were deemed not to have qualified, allowing Lunger, Merzario and Stuppacher on to the grid. Stuppacher had already left the circuit and flown back home to Austria, so could not take his place on the grid. This promoted Hunt back into the 26 qualifiers. Merzario withdrew due to brake problems) and promoted Mass, and later Guy Edwards Hesketh also decided to withdraw in order to let Watson race.

For Canadian Grand Prix Wolf–Williams turned up with New Zealander Chris Amon in a second car but after a spin he was hit by Harald Ertl's Hesketh and both cars seriously damaged. Amon suffered bruising to his legs and choose not to take part in the race and the Italian qualified 24th and retired with a crash.

Amon was replaced by Australian Warwick Brown for the United States Grand Prix East, He qualified 23rd and finished 14th, Merzario qualified 25th and retired with a crash.

For the final race of the 1976 season, in Japan Brown was replaced by Local man Masami Kuwashima, He took part in the first practice session for the race, but proved rather slow. In any case, later that day his sponsors withdrew their financing of the Wolf–Williams deal, and Frank Williams promptly replaced Kuwashima with Austrian Hans Binder for the second practice session and the race itself. In qualifying Merzario 19th and Binder 25th, Both men retired in the race Merzario with a broken gearbox and Binder with a wheel issue. However the problem with the FW05 was the car turned out to be overweight.[8]

At season's end, Wolf decided to restructure the team, removing Frank Williams from the manager's job. Disillusioned, Williams left the team altogether, to set up Williams Grand Prix Engineering with Patrick Head in 1977. Wolf brought 100% of Wolf–Williams Racing and the team became Walter Wolf Racing.

Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit


Year Entrant Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WCC Points
1975 Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G ARG BRA RSA ESP MON BEL SWE NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA USA 4th* 33*
James Hunt 5 4
1976 Wolf–Williams Racing Wolf–Williams FW05 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G BRA RSA USW ESP BEL MON SWE FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA CAN USE JPN 0
Jacky Ickx 8 16 DNQ 7 DNQ DNQ 10 DNQ
Michel Leclère 13 DNQ 10 11 11 Ret 13
Arturo Merzario Ret Ret Ret DNS Ret Ret Ret
Chris Amon DNS
Warwick Brown 14
Masami Kuwashima DNS
Hans Binder Ret

* 5 points scored with the 308C; remaining points scored with the 308B

Non-championship resultsEdit


Year Entrant Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3
1975 Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G ROC INT SUI
James Hunt 8
1976 Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308C Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G ROC INT
Jacky Ickx 3
Wolf–Williams Racing Wolf–Williams FW05 Ret
Mario Andretti 7


  1. ^ "Hesketh 308C". Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Wolf–Williams FW05". Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  3. ^ Brown, Allen. "Hesketh 308C car-by-car histories". Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Grand Prix results, Italian GP 1975". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Grand Prix results, United States GP 1975". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  6. ^ "From Rags to Riches". 8W FORIX/Autosport. December 1998. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Grand Prix results, South African GP 1976". Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  8. ^ "1975 Hesketh 308C Cosworth – Images, Specifications and Information". Retrieved 17 July 2016.