7th gear for Williams

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The new BMW Williams FW26 is revolutionary in more ways than one, as apart from the new tusk like nose, the new car signifies the first time BMW, makers of the P84 engine for the 2004 season, have become involved with the design of the gearbox.

According to Autosport, what makes this new design even better is that it features a seven-speed gearbox instead of the previous six used on last year’s contender, the FW25. The significance of this fact is that it brings the Grove based squad up to par with rivals at Ferrari and McLaren.

“It has been important to have seven speeds once more,” Patrick Head told Autosport. “Because of the one engine rule. It will allow some stress to be taken off the engine.”

However, even though one would expect the additional gear to make for a bigger unit, the new gearbox is actually smaller in width and aerodynamically cleaner than last years model.