Williams Racing has launched the Williams FW45 – its 2023 F1 challenger ahead of its first shakedown test of the season at Silverstone later today.
The pre-pre-season has been given the name ‘launch season’ by F1 marketing bods keen to wring every drop of content out of a sport that has already been thoroughly wringed and, thus far, as is so often the case in a world built entirely upon superlatives, has failed to live up to the hype.
Fans have watched on as teams have given required airtime to sponsors old and new with live streams of ‘launches’ that have amounted to little more than commercials for whatever it is the money men (or women) want to peddle and very little of what the fans tune in to see – cars.
Long gone, it would seem, are the days of new machinery (many of which were significantly different to their predecessors, imagine that!) being revealed when its two drivers gently draw away a big old sheet covering a car in the pit lane on the morning of the first pre-season test to a gaggle of photographers.
That wouldn’t be very Liberty-era F1 now would it?? That would be too much substance and not enough style!
However, the closer we get to the first pre-season test of the year in Bahrain (not Barcelona in Europe where the teams are based – where would the profit be in that?!) the more inclined teams are to launch their actual 2023 car and not something else painted in this years colours.
And so, following a ‘season launch’ on the 9th February, Williams Racing heads to Silverstone this morning with their new-for-2023 FW45 where it will hit the track for the first time.
Williams has released some photos/renders of the new car, and I think it looks great, if not a little ‘safe’. We need different. We need adventurous. We need edgy. Innovation doesn’t necessarily translate into success (see Mercedes’ lack of sidepods last year), but I want to see plenty of it, if for nothing other than to see that the teams have lots of ideas and that they’re not frightened of trying them out in an effort to really shake things up.
One of my Twitter followers commented that Red Bull didn’t go big on innovation last year and they won both titles at a canter. But what RBR needed on the back of a title winning campaign was more of the same – exactly what Williams and its fans don’t want to see.