F1 2018: Williams next up to launch with their FW-41

Williams became the second team of 2018 to launch their 2018 contender and... well... judge for yourself.


(Image credit: Morio)

Williams became the second F1 outfit to reveal their 2018 car, with the FW-41 being revealed in London on Thursday night.

What they said

Williams claim that the FW-41 is "significantly different" to its 2017 predecessor, with chief technical officer Paddy Lowe explaining:

"All Formula 1 cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involvea number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past. 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."

Given that this is the first car to be produced under the supervision of Lowe, as well as head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer, departures from previous avenues of development were to be expected, and will hopefully bear fruit for the team when they hit the track.

Lowe also revealed that radical changes to the car's internal packaging had allowed them to incorporate more developments from engine supplier Mercedes, which again should give them a boost in straight line speed, an area where they sometimes struggled last season.

Aesthetics

The FW-41 benefits from a longer looking wheelbase than last year's effort, and this gives the car an aggressive look, which is accentuated by the addition of more black to the livery to sit below the Martini branding. Whether this detracts from the impact of the Martini colours is debatable, but I think it is a welcome addition to the Williams livery.

Whereas Haas tried to hide their halo against a black background, Williams have painted theirs white, and a brighter shade of white than the rest of the car it seems, to show off the new design. The result is... striking shall we say?

I've not been a fan of the halo concept since it was first mooted, and this doesn't do much to sway my opinion, but it doesn't look as bad as I thought a white halo might, so I have hope that other teams will improve its aesthetics further as we get closer to testing and more cars are released.

Areas of interest

In a similar vein to Haas yesterday, one of the main areas of interest on the FW-41 is the side-pod vents and aero vanes, an area Paddy Lowe called "the biggest area of opportunity still not fully exploited with these new regulations." 

We can see that the side-pods themselves have been pushed further towards the back of the car than last year, and the complex array of fins and vanes in front of them is almost an entirely new concept after last year's relatively simple approach. 

Areas that have seen relatively little change include the nose and front wing, which look quite similar to last year's. They may even be last year's, but regardless this is an area where I would expect Williams, and any team for that matter, to make quick changes as testing begins.


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