Three days before the real thing is set to hit the track in the first Formula 1 pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya on Monday morning, Rokit Williams Racing have released digital renderings of their new 2019 car – the Williams FW42.
It was announced earlier in the week that Williams, in the midst of an aggressive development programme, had chosen to cancel a planned shakedown of the FW42 in Barcelona this weekend in order to buy themselves an extra few days development and build time.
And so, with this in mind, they’ve opted to launch their new car digitally – as they have in previous years, in advance of unveiling the real thing at Barcelona on Monday.
Decked out in the new blue and white livery revealed earlier in the week, the FW42 features the new for 2019 front and rear wings, and modified aero devices around the mid-section of the car.
In comparison to the aero packages we’ve seen on the FW42‘s competition in recent days, Williams’ appears to be relatively simple which suggests that either the team have gone super conservative in order to start the season on a solid footing and continue to develop throughout the season, or that they have some more developed parts in reserve for when the car rolls out of the garage on Monday.
The overall shape of the FW42 – its nose, airbox and tail end – is very similar to that of the FW41.
A surprising element of the FW42 is the design of its sidepods, which are similar in concept – ie aggressively undercut near where they meet the floor of the car – to its predecessor, the Williams FW41.
This is surprising inasmuch as Paddy Lowe admitted that this was the wrong approach to have taken for 2018 and the source of at least some of the FW41‘s frailties.
There appear to be numerous scoops along the edge of the floor, designed to direct air from the turning vanes and direct it along the body of the car where it can be reused to create further downforce.
Claire Williams, Williams deputy team principal is keen to manage expectations ahead of the new season.
“Our target this year is progress. We have to show that.”
But the significance of the FW42 isn’t lost on anyone: Williams simply can’t tolerate another season like 2018. If significant progress isn’t made then it could signal the end of the road for a number of high profile team members and a complete rethink in terms of Williams’ strategy.
But we don’t need to worry about that now. Let’s just enjoy the FW42, and look forward to an exciting season ahead.