I think we can all agree that the 2018 season was a bit of a stinker. Two races out of 21 with drivers in the top 10 (Italy, for the pedant, had both Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin finishing in the points), amassing a grand total of seven points.
Maybe the drivers could have done better, but the FW41 was, frankly undrivable on just about every type of circuit. And with key staff leaving during the season, it was the perfect storm which resulted in a 10th (and stone dead last) place finish in the Constructors Championship.
But 2019 brings a renewed optimism – the Paddy Lowe overseen FW42 brings a chance to improve and impress, and two drivers who want to excel in the coming year; Robert Kubica will heighten the expectation levels of fans, and the undoubted potential of George Russell
Will the FW42 bring an upturn in the fortunes of Williams in 2019? Will Kubica and Russell extract every ounce of performance from the package? The first testing session, starting on 18th February, will be an intriguing one.
2019 – New Rules & Regs – changes to the Front Wing
The 2019 season brings an update to the numerous and varied rules that govern F1; this year we see changes ranging from bargeboards being moved and lowered, to “biometric gloves”, through to an chequered light panel for the end of race signal (although the flag will be kept for “old times sake”) #Sci-Fi
One of the biggest changes for this season involves the Front Wing – the FW41 had challenges with this and the various vortexes that were being created through airflow. This manifested itself in a car that looked like it wanted to go several directions at once, and spin as soon as the wheel was turned. In this humble fan’s view – a bit of a problem.
As Robbie K said around Barcelona time “We have to somehow understand we’re in this situation, but apart from being slow, it was nearly impossible to keep the car on the track.”
The 2019 changes appear to remove a lot of the complexity and funky designs to end plates which we’d seen in the 2018 season. We now see a simplified wing which will be higher (20mm), wider (by 200mm) and moved forward.
Also, now banned are the beautifully complex endplates, and limits to the under-wing strakes (now limited to two)
What does this mean for the FW42, and racing in general? From a pure racing perspective, it should allow closer racing, as the trailing air is less disrupted. For Williams and FW42, it should allow an opportunity to rectify some of the issues which surfaced in 2018.