Williams Martini Racing is the second team to reveal its 2018 car, unveiling its Mercedes-powered FW41 challenger at a launch event in London on Thursday.
The Grove outfit’s launch follows the Haas F1 Team’s release of digitally rendered images of its VF-18 design on Wednesday.
The FW41 is the first car design to be fully influenced by chief technical officer Paddy Lowe and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer, who both joined the team last year.
The design is a significant departure from its predecessor, the mercurial FW40, with Williams adopting a number of changes to its engineering and aerodynamics focus.
The FW40 suffered with a narrow and sensitive set-up window which led to its competitiveness waxing and waning through the course of 2017. Williams finished fifth in the Constructors’ Championship standings with 83 points – 55 fewer than it achieved in 2016 (when it also finished fifth) – which was a hefty 104 points adrift of the Force India team which operates on a significantly smaller budget.
“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,” said Lowe.
“All Formula 1 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.
“We hope that this car will make progress in the performance rankings relative to 2017.”
The car will be piloted by Lance Stroll and Formula 1 rookie Sergey Sirotkin, who will be the youngest and least experienced driver pairing on the grid. The duo bring over $60 million into the team’s coffers, helping offset the reduction in the team’s prizemoney for slipping towards the midfield over the past two seasons.
Image via Williams Martini Racing