Pre-season testing for the 2019 Formula 1 season is now less than one month away, and while teams feverishly work on getting their new chargers assembled, tested and track ready by the first test in Barcelona on the 18th February, the last thing any of them need is the distraction of a high-profile, choreographed launch event, typically the brainchild of a PR/marketing team and cursed by everyone in the garage.
So far is such a ceremony from the thoughts of everyone at Williams that they remain one of the few teams yet to have announced when their new car – the Williams FW42 – the car they hope will turn around their fortunes after a disastrous 2018, will be unveiled to the watching world.
This, to me suggests that covers will be whipped from the FW42 in the pitlane at Barcelona on the morning of the 18th, or that our first glimpse of Williams’ new car will be a low-key release of a digital rendering of the new car.
Which can only be a good thing. But why, you might ask?
Firstly, it allows the team the maximum amount of time to work on the car. Imposing an unnecessary and relatively arbitrary deadline on themselves that might compromise any last-minute work that is going on to ready the FW42 for testing would be daft.
Secondly, it removes any unnecessary distraction that the preparations for and therefore any additional effort that a launch event – whether it be actual or virtual – might bring.
Thirdly, and most importantly, on the back of a nightmare 2018 season where a fundamentally flawed Williams FW41 compromised the team’s entire campaign landing them in last place in both championships, to then triumphantly fanfare the arrival of an as-yet untested new car would both serve to appear ignorant of the previous 12 months, but would also set themselves up for a huge PR own goal should the FW42 also fall short.
We’ll leave that to the boys over at McLaren. (Miaow).
But this isn’t Williams’ modus operandi. They do things with a little more humility and grace, which is why I’m expecting something deliberately and pointedly low-key.
That doesn’t mean I’m any less excited at its release mind you…