Williams are the latest Formula 1 team to announce the launch date of their 2021 challenger – the Williams FW43B – ahead of the forthcoming F1 season that is planned to begin on the 26th of March in Bahrain.
On 5th March 2021 Williams will unveil the car it hopes will continue their journey from the back into F1’s midfield fight – a journey that began with its predecessor, the FW43.
The FW43B name reflects the car’s evolution from last year’s car rather as opposed to a new car-per-season, as is typical of Formula 1 these days. This is due to the planned introduction of a new formula for 2021 being delayed a year as a result of the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and teams’ brand new 2021 cars instead being launched in 2022.
As a result, visually (other than any changes to livery) the FW43B is likely to look very similar to last year’s FW43.
Several aerodynamic updates have been introduced by way of a step towards big change in 2022, particularly around the rear end of the car and the floor affecting how the air flows around the rear wing, but these changes largely affect the underside of the car and as such, not visible.
Another sizeable change for the FW43B is in the strengthening of the team’s relationship with Mercedes following Williams’ sale to Dorilton Capital in August last year.
For 2022 Williams will use Mercedes’ gearboxes, and with that comes Mercedes’ rear suspension and setup, and their high rake design philosophy (a higher ride height at the back of the car in relation to the front) too, which could have a knock-on effect on the evolution of the FW43B and its handling of aero as it moves in that direction for next year – albeit with a brand new car.
Williams will hope that the FW43B will help it see out the current generation of Formula 1 in style, their early promise at the onset of the turbo hybrid era (which began in 2014) having been long since forgotten after a series of forgettable seasons culminating in the team’s first ever constructor’s championship duck (0 points) last year.
But, dear friend, should the FW43B be a complete duffer, let’s not lose hope. A bright new dawn beckons in 2022, with a new set of technical and sporting regulations and the promise of a level(ish) playing field – that could be Williams’ real opportunity.