Williams debuts real FW44 at Silverstone

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On the same day as the team revealed a show car in its new 2022 Williams livery, the British team have unleashed the new, metallic blue FW44 out on track at Silverstone for a shakedown.

It was Nicholas Latifi who was given the honours to debut the new car as part of a filming day. It wasn't without trouble, however, as it was one hour behind schedule due to an electronic issue, according to Team Principal Jost Capito. Alexander Albon had his first taste of the car later that day as well.

On the wet Silverstone track, the car revealed some of its design details, including a front push rod and rear pull-rod suspension design, just like on its predecessor. The FW44 features a very rounded nose cone profile with all front wing profiles attached to it, though with the lower element reaching out ahead of the tip of the nose.

The mid section of the car appears to follow the design direction that the team had taken in previous years, leaning close to what Red Bull Racing are aiming for with sloping down sidepods and the minimisation of surface area. This results in highly exposed rear suspension elements with very little obstructing airflow towards the and the sides of the diffuser, apart from the absolute necessary wishbones and pull-rod.

Notable is also a fairly large DRS actuation pod, positioned on a single central pillar to support the rear wing.

The FW44 will enter history as the first Williams since 1995 without the Senna 'S' on its nose, in honour of three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna who was killed in 1994 in a Williams FW16.

Team Principal Capito said the team are writing a new chapter in their history, and wish to look forward: "The decision was that we want to move forward in the future . We have a new era, a new car. In addition, we reformed part of our museum, where we have a special area to honour to Ayrton . I think we have to look forward and not show the drivers the S every time they get in the car, reminding them of what happened. I think now is the time for the team to move on to the future and honour the Senna, in addition to having his space reserved to think about him".

Following this shakedown, Williams will transport their new car to Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona where pre-season testing will commence on 23 February.