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Williams FW43 car launch: What to expect

February 16, 2020

Williams Racing will, tomorrow, launch their new challenger, the FW43, days ahead of the first F1 pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Wednesday.

But what can we expect when the covers are pulled away and we finally get sight of the car Williams hope will turn around their recent string of poor results?

Digital launch

The first thing to note is that only a digital rendering of the FW43 is planned for released tomorrow, not an actual car. That’s en-route to Spain and will be seen on the morning of the first day of testing on Wednesday. Alongside the digital launch, we’ll get to see an actual, real-life FW42 sporting the team’s new livery.

New livery for 2020

The new livery is widely expected to feature the red of title sponsor ROKiT’s brand. From the little we’ve seen of the car so far (and it’s really not much!) it appears that the Williams electric blue from last year is still the dominant colour alongside white, and carbon fibre/black, with red featuring on the sidepods, suggesting that the ROKiT logo will be placed there, rather than further up on the side of the airbox as it was in 2019.

The glimpes of bodywork Williams have released thus far show clean lines separating blocks of blue and white, suggesting the blue/white gradient is gone, which is a shame because I quite liked it!

Design principles

Although there are likely to be lots of top secret bits teams don’t yet want to reveal to the world, from a design perspective no team has revealed a car that could be described as a radical departure from last year.

Most are an evolution of their predecessors but with sharpened geometry, slightly more aggressive packaging and loaded with extra aero furniture.

Aero is one key area that Williams were sorely lacking last year and it’s something I hope they’ve made the greatest strides with on the FW43, having bolstered their workforce in an attempt to do just that.

I want to see every square cm maximised to use the airflow around it work as hard as it possibly can, in the way Red Bull do so brilliantly, and that Williams were visibly behind on at the beginning of last year.

If it means the car ends up looking like a cheese grater from the space shuttle then so be it.

So, for launch, we can expect the FW43 to look like toned version of the FW42, with lots of new aerodynamic devices and a funky new version of its 2019 livery.

Let’s hope it’s enough to propel George Russell and Nicholas Latifi into the thick of the midfield action.


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