Williams Racing have presented their new FW41 at a launch event in London. The car is the first to be fully built and designed under the guidance of Paddy Lowe, and hence features several large changes to what have been common design elements on recent Williams cars.
Chief technical officer, Paddy Lowe, said beforehand that the team has indeed ditched several aerodynamic concepts, resulting in a car that features "great advances in aerodynamic performance". Of course, Lowe has brought a vast amount of experience and knowledge from Mercedes with him, and it should therefore not be a surprise that the new FW41 features a unique "cape" underneath the nose cone. This aerodynamic fairing was a unique feature on last year's Mercedes.
Dirk de Beer, the team's new Head of Aerodynamics, is also likely to have had his impact on the changed philosophy at Williams.
It is no surprise that Williams has made such changes, as their recent contenders were usually weak on the aerodynamic side. The team dropped down the pecking order in recent years, despite having the continued Mercedes power in the back of their cars.
Williams has retained the Martini livery, even though this time featuring a lot more black. It's more like only the upper half of the car was painted white, and the rest made black. A handy feature to keep some details hidden.
Speaking ahead of the 2018 season, Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, said: “I am thrilled to be back and launching our new car, for a new season, with a new, exciting driver line-up. For many months, the team have put a tremendous amount of effort into the FW41 and I’m eager to see both Lance and Sergey take to the track later this month.
“Lance produced some impressive performances last year in what was a remarkably strong debut season, where he only just lost out to Felipe in the standings. His podium finish was the only one outside of the top three teams, and we aim to build on that this season.
“It’s also my pleasure to welcome Sergey and Robert to Williams, who have both displayed exceptional speed and qualities that I know will only strengthen the team. Sergey has impressed the technical team and it is great for us to be able to give him the opportunity to step up into a race seat. Robert, will also be working closely with the team, utilising his experience to help develop the car throughout the season.
“Our entire team have put a huge amount of effort into the development and production of this year’s car, and we’re all looking forward to seeing it on the track. I would also like to thank our partners and fans for all their confidence and support.”
Chief Technical Officer, Paddy Lowe, added: “It is very exciting to be giving everyone the first look at the FW41. It is the product of some great teamwork across the various functions in the organisation including aerodynamics design, vehicle dynamics, race engineering and systems engineering.
"The car has many new features, most of which are not all that obvious, but externally the team has pursued a very different aerodynamic concept which has allowed us some significant progress in aerodynamic performance. All Formula One cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involve a number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past.
"Overall, the philosophy we are starting to see emerge is a new approach to the collaboration between aerodynamics and design to achieve the optimum working result. Aerodynamics, structure and weight are the three major trades to be made in designing a Formula One car, and all the work, alongside a number of radical changes to the car’s packaging to incorporate further developments from Mercedes HPP, have led us to the FW41 being revealed today. We hope that this car will make progress in the performance rankings relative to 2017. The whole technical team is also feeling very positive about our two talented young race drivers with the combination of Lance and Sergey, alongside the contribution of Robert as our reserve and development driver.”
A technical look is to follow in due course...