Williams has completed a shakedown test of their 2021 challenger at a moist Silverstone, some 15 days ahead of the car’s official launch on March 15th.
Williams are the second team to give their new car a run out, after McLaren did a similar shakedown on Tuesday.
The test, officially a ‘filming day’ that allows any team to complete up to 100kms, was kept under wraps, and was teased out in a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday, which contained just a glimpse (and a blurry one at that!) of the car.
Given that the FW43B is in the main the car that completed the 2020 Formula 1 season, it’s not nearly as exciting as it might have been any other year, so one wonders whether Williams really have made significant changes to last year’s car that they want to keep under wraps or whether the teaser video is merely a marketing ploy to increase anticipation ahead of the car’s official launch in two weeks time.
My guess is the latter.
One notable feature of the FW43B during Wednesday’s test is that it ran in either a dark paint scheme, or in plain carbon fibre bodywork, creating speculation that Williams is about to launch a substantially different livery from the one that completed the 2020 season.
This might be a reflection that the team is now under new ownership and that Dorilton Capital are taking it in a new direction – one of their choosing.
It might also point to a new sponsor potentially coming on board that might influence the colour of the cars, as has been discussed at length in the last few days. Certainly, being able to offer a potential sponsor the opportunity of applying their brand to the entire livery is a more compelling sell that if that weren’t on the table.
Either way, it’s great to see a Williams out on track, and relatively early too, hinting that there are no significant issues like those that blighted 2019’s pre-season.