At half past one with the worlds’ cameras trained on them, the Williams team wheeled back the screens, and out came Russell in his newly liveried ROKiT Williams Racing car to complete a single installation lap before returning to the pits, allowing his mechanics to do further preparations ahead of longer runs that are likely to come.
Having seen the new Williams livery on track, I think everyone’s perceptions of it will be determined by how quick the car is.
It’s currently dividing opinion amongst fans, with PlanetF1 ranking it as tenth out of ten of their favourite liveries, but if the car were to find a bit of speed and fight in the midfield or better, people might just find themselves warming to it in the same way they did with the Brawn GP livery in 2009.
One other observation I’ve made from testing is that Williams’ woes seem to be diverting attention away from some pretty fundamental issues elsewhere, something I’m sure Haas (issues with seat fitting meaning one of their drivers wasn’t able to test, and three breakdowns in as many days), Renault (structural issues with their rear wing leading to them not being able to use DRS and costing them valuable time) and McLaren (bits falling off all over the place) are absolutely delighted.
Something that this pre-season test seems to have confirmed is that there are no whipping boys in F1 any more, and that Williams are going to have to be at their very best to beat these guys.
McLaren have shown signs of speed, Haas too, and Alfa Romeo – sometime tail end Charlies topped the timesheets this morning and look like they have the potential to be best of the rest, and on occasion give the big teams something to think about.