Williams reveal 'significantly different' 2018 F1 car
"Everybody has great anticipation about what this car should deliver," says technical chief Paddy Lowe; Williams defend Stroll-Sirotkin pairing and hit out at 'pay driver' tag
By James Galloway and Pete Gill
Last Updated: 26/02/18 8:21am
Williams have revealed their 2018 car, describing the FW41 as 'significantly different' to its predecessor.
The car is the first which can be credited to Paddy Lowe, Williams' chief technical officer, and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer after they both moved to Grove at the start of 2017.
"All Formula 1 cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involve a number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past," said Lowe.
"The car has many new features, most of which are not all that obvious, but externally the team has pursued a very different aerodynamic concept which has allowed us some significant progress in aerodynamic performance."
The car will again use Mercedes engines and Lowe added that Williams had made "number of radical changes to the car's packaging to incorporate further developments" from their power suppliers.
Williams finished fifth in the Constructors' Championship in 2017 but with fewer than half the points of fourth-placed Force India.
Williams: Four fast facts
- Williams remain second to only Ferrari for Constructors’ Championship wins with nine
- Their victory in the 2012 Spanish GP remains the team’s only win in F1 since 2004
- At 19 years old, Lance Stroll is again the youngest driver on the grid
- They're the only team other than F1's 'Big Three' to claim a podium in every season of the current engine era
Williams defend driver selection
The FW41 will be driven by Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin after the team appointed the Russian to replace Felipe Massa following the Brazilian's retirement.
Stroll and Sirotkin will comprise the new season's youngest driver line-up and their pairing has already provoked plenty of debate - not least because rookie Sirotkin reputedly brings as much as $15m in sponsorship money to the team.
But responding to the criticism, team chief Claire Williams said: "This is a dangerous business and we're not just going to have them in the car because they come with money. Our decision is so much more complex than just deciding to put a driver in a racing car because they have some cash.
"We're an independent team and, yes, sponsorship is really important these days for every team out there, so clearly if a driver has some financial backing that's an added bonus - but it's not the foundation for a decision-making process at Williams."
Williams added it was unfair to describe Sirotkin as a 'pay driver'.
"The terminology is wrong, it's inappropriate and it puts a negativity around the driver that we just shouldn't be doing in this sport anymore," she said.
Lowe, a former title winner at Mercedes and McLaren, said the appointment of Sirotkin came at the end of the "most exhaustive" driver selection policy he had experienced in his career.
Robert Kubica will be Williams' reserve and development driver with the Pole scheduled to appear in three practice sessions throughout the season as well as pre-season testing.
2018 car unveilings and launch dates
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