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F1 Models | Behind The Williams Super Fan Collection

Paul Jeffrey

RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief
Williams super fan and RaceDepartment member @Craig Patteson takes us behind the scenes on his immense F1 model collection - and a special day with the multiple World Championship winning team.

The modern era might be a bit of a tough one for Williams in Formula One, but that hasn't stopped the British outfit from enjoying a strong following amongst motorsport and Formula One fans both new and old. Having been around since the days of Frank Williams Racing Cars in the late 1960's, morphing into Wolf-Williams Racing for a brief season in 1976 before taking on the now famous Williams Grand Prix Engineering for the 1977 season, Williams are one of the longest standing and most iconic teams in motorsport, and one that could easily be considered most people's second favourite outfit in Formula One... probably!

New fans into the sport may not be aware of how Williams once dominated the Grand Prix scene in the 1980's and early 90's - taking World Championship after World Championship with the likes of such great names as Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. Those times were undoubtedly the highlights for Williams, and despite less on track success than was once the case, the Grove based squad still stand proud as one of the longest serving and fiercely independent teams in modern Formula One.

For one fan, our very own Mr. @Craig Patteson, Williams are more than just a team - they've become something of an obsession!

RD: Craig, many RaceDepartment regulars in the racing clubs here will probably already know your name from your various sim racing adventures. For those that don't, it's quick introduction time!

: Hello! My name is Craig Patteson, I'm 33 years old and from the UK, however I'm currently living in Guernsey over in the Channel Islands. I sim race in my spare time sometimes on RaceDepartment and other sim racing websites for my virtual fill, and I also take part in various Hillclimb events locally in Guernsey. Normally I'm found racing my 250cc Superkart, but I'm looking to join my father in his single seat Formula Jedi 600cc next year....

Williams Models - Superkart.jpg

RD: I understand you've got a bit of a thing for model collecting... in particular Williams... why Williams?

: I started collecting way back in 2003... the only reason I can give to start collecting is because of my father! Every year and every Christmas my father would get a 1:18 Williams car, so I guess over the years watching him get these beautiful cars gave me the bug to start collecting... but i do things differently to my father. He would get one driver of that certain year of Williams cars, but for me I would get both drivers and a test driver if they were ever produced! I even go as far as getting cars that are exactly the same but have a different card inlay because it just adds to the collection. For example, I have cars from the 2001 season but they also had a Michelin edition and a BMW edition so I had to get them as well! I've got showcars which are simply last years cars with this years livery on! Pointless to some, but needed for my collection...

Williams Models Overview 4.jpg

RD: So the addiction started early then... following in your fathers footsteps with Williams is understandable, but why Williams out of all the teams on the F1 grid?

: Again my father had a helping hand. He's been a Williams fan all his life. The first British Grand Prix he attended was in 1983 at Brands Hatch, and my earliest memories of F1 and Williams was in 1990 standing in front of the Williams garage with my brother at Silverstone, so it was inevitable that I was always going to end up supporting the team as well. Williams means a lot to me, they have been through a lot recently but I hope to see them through the bad times and get back to the good old days.

RD: I can imagine you've probably had some interesting experiences regarding the team over the years then?

: Yes! The first story must have been either 1991 or 1992 at the British Grand Prix. Being a young kid still getting to know F1 I can't remember exactly what day it was but 'Mansell Mania' was out in force! I can't remember where it was but we were in a big bunch of people, me standing right next to my dad's leg to make sure I didn't lose him when all of a sudden I feel myself getting picked up... now I'm looking at my dad face-to-face and then I turn around and see a stranger with a moustache holding me - it was Nigel Mansell and I started crying my eyes out! Good times..

RD: Bit of a Nigel Mansell fan myself... not at all jealous... !

: Yeah that was great, and another good story was 2017 yet again at Silverstone. We were inside the track on the National Pitstraight in the GP2/GP3 paddock during the 40 years of Williams celebrations. Over the weekend they had a nice display of some classic Williams cars and fans were allowed to get up close to the cars. As we were about to leave we saw Frank Williams son Jonathan, who runs the Heritage side of Williams, and we talked to him for a good 30 mins about the team. I showed him some pictures of my collection and he was very impressed - that was a great memory but I've saved the best for last!

2019 in May a video of my model collection got shared but WTF1 page on Instagram, and amongst the comments Williams liked and commented on my collection :) The same day, they followed me on Twitter - man that was a great day! I sent them a message to say thank you for the follow and we started talking and told them I was going to be at Silverstone to cheer them on and talks changed to trying to get me a paddock pass. Sadly that didn't happen but lucky for me a friend managed to get me a pit pass and Williams had arranged a gift for me to say thank you for the support. On the Thursday at the Grand Prix I ran down to the Williams garage and a lady comes out with a goodie bag looking into the crowd that has gathered outside. She saw me and asked if I was the right guy, which of course I was! She then says I have a goodie bag for you but we want George and Robert to give it to you! I asked if I was allowed to come through the barrier as I had some stuff I wanted signed which they allowed me then then both drivers appeared... they gave me the goodie bag, I got a picture taken and they signed my items! I had a tour of the garage and watched the team do practice pit stops and stuff. I spent at least 20 mins with them watching them, talking to them and I was in heaven! That was the best moment ever being a Williams fan, and they released a fan video which is on my Twitter and Williams Twitter account!

Williams Models Overview 2.jpg

RD: Awesome stuff, and now moving on to that collection that attracted the teams interest in the first place. When I say you've got a substantial model collection, I'm really not understating things am I?

: I have been collecting 1:43 Scaled Williams F1 Models since 2003. I currently have 287 cars in my collection from the early days when the team was known as Frank Williams Racing to the current Williams cars. I also collect 1:18 Williams cars along with my father (13 in my collection when my father has 62), along with very popular 1:2 helmets (24) along with 1:5 (1) and 1:8 helmets (9), 1:43 Williams Transporter trucks (2), 1:4 Williams steering wheels (3), 1:12 Williams nosecones (2), 1:43 driver figures (3) and 1:12 Williams and Lotus cars (3) and 1:43 Double Sets such as pitstop diorma's and World Champion sets (8). I also collect Ayrton Senna 1:18 cars, simply because he is a legend (15) and with those Senna cars a very special mini Ayrton Senna Statue... so yeah, quite the collection!

RD: Good lord... that's quite the collection... from those, do you have any particularly special one's you are really attached to?

: The first car to start the collection of 1:43 Williams cars was the FW08 Derek Daly 1982 Minichamps. I reached out to Derek Daly this year hoping I could send the case from that model to him in the United States for him to sign. Unbelievably the next day I heard back from his assistant saying he would be happy to sign it for me, very happy about that!

Williams Models - Derek Daily 2.jpg

CP: One of the more rare cars in my collection is a 1:43 Williams Showcar, again by Minichaps from the year 2000 with Ralf Schumacher. The reason behind it being rare is it has no barcode on the back, and to my knowledge from an former Williams employee these particular cars were gifted to Williams staff, so to have one of those in the collection is quite epic.

Williams Models - RSC 1.jpg
Williams Models - RSC 2.jpg

CP: My final 'special' has to be the car and helmet I got signed from Robert Kubica this year at Silverstone. To get his 1:18 FW40 test Abu Dhabi edition and his 1:2 helmet signed was pretty special, I suspect that made quite a few Polish fans very jealous....

Williams Models 4.jpg

Thank you to Craig for sharing his stories about his epic Williams F1 model collection - a fabulous collection of cars and a dedicated fan for sure!

Would you like to know more about the world of model race cars? Got a story to share? Drop me a message or let us know in the comments section below!

Williams Models - Craig, Kubica and Russell.jpg
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Daniel R.

That's a cool collection Craig!!

And I can fully understand the excitement at track and in the pits. It's an epic world of you get a glimpse from outside!!
Happy for your experiences!

Keep it up mate!

Cheers Dan