Williams release first front-on shot of 2014 F1 car and unveil the FW36 'anteater' nose
The distinctive new look of F1's new era is finally revealed
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 23/01/14 2:33pm
On Wednesday Force India had unexpectedly initiated launch season by releasing a picture of their striking new VJM07, however the picture was only the side-on view of the car.
But on Thursday morning Williams went one step further by releasing a CGI picture of their all-new FW36, decked out in interim all-blue livery, when viewed from the front, in turn revealing the ungainly protruding nose tip design - which has already been likened to an anteater or hook - that most teams are expected to adopt in line with the new lower nose height parameters.
In addition to the widespread overhaul of the sport's powertrain rules for the new season, the front of the nose has been lowered from a height of 550mm to 185mm as a safety measure to avoid the possibility of cars becoming airborne in an accident.
The sport's leading designers had warned that the most efficient aerodynamic solution, which maximises airflow under the nose, was unlikely to be particularly pretty and Williams' launch pictures arguably confirm that.
Aesthetic talking points aside, however, and the FW36 represents an important car in Williams' illustrious history after the Grove-based outfit endured the joint-worst ever season in 2013 when they scored just five points and finished ninth in the Constructors' Championship.
But hopes are high for an improved campaign in F1's new era after the mid-season signing of Pat Symonds to the role of Chief Technical Officer was followed by five key technical arrivals from leading rival teams over the winter.
"I'm confident that we'll be closer to the front aerodynamically than we were last year," declared Symonds.
"Our ambition for the year ahead is to have a strong 2014 season."
After two seasons back running Renault engines, Williams have also switched to Mercedes power for 2014 and Symonds said the team had been "very impressed" with the German manufacturer so far.
"Their professionalism and commitment have been notable and we're as confident as we can be that the power unit will be competitive," he added.
Williams announced last weekend that they had already fired the new challenger up at their factory, one of the first teams believed to have done so, while the outfit have also already confirmed their run plan for next week's Jerez test with Valtteri Bottas and new signing Felipe Massa.
"The build of the new car has gone remarkably smoothly," Symonds admitted.
"But it's been a challenge to get the car down to the weight limit. It's been achievable, but it hasn't been easy because the new power unit is heavier than the outgoing V8."
As is the case with the teaser photos, Williams have also already confirmed that they will run with all-blue interim colour scheme at the opening test ahead of what is anticipated to be a later livery launch ahead of the racing season. Pastor Maldonado's winter departure to Lotus means that the FW36 will not carry branding from PDVSA in 2014, speculation having pointed to a potential title sponsor tie-up with drinks firm Martini.
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, starting in Jerez on Tuesday January 28, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.