Formula 1 launches: Williams reveal sleek new car livery and Gulf Oil partnership for 2023 season
Williams reveal updated livery for FW45, adorned with new sponsors such as Gulf Oil; Alex Albon and rookie team-mate Logan Sargeant aiming to lift team up standings in 2023 after dismal five years; Williams also have new team principal in James Vowles, who starts on February 20
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 06/02/23 9:51pm
Williams have revealed their new livery for the 2023 Formula 1 season after agreeing a mega new partnership with Gulf Oil.
The third team to start their campaign with a launch, Williams showed off an updated blue and red livery adorned with many new sponsors at their Grove base, before their FW45 car debuts hitting the track next Monday.
The most notable addition to the livery is the Gulf logo, with the oil company joining forces with another F1 team after its partnership with McLaren ended in 2022. Many had speculated that the Williams car may feature more of the famous blue and orange Gulf colours.
- F1 launch season: The reveals so far and what's next
- F1 2023: Pre-season testing and race dates
- Red Bull launch new car for F1 title defence | Ford to join forces in 2026
- Verstappen: Hamilton, many drivers, can win title
"This signifies the strength of our brand and commercial offerings as we continue our transformation," said Matthew Savage, Chairman of the Board at Williams.
"Gulf and Williams Racing share an illustrious motorsport heritage and, together, we are making history with this partnership."
Williams, one of the most successful F1 teams of all-time but backmarkers in recent years, have been going through their "transformation" since Dorilton Capital acquired the team from the legendary Sir Frank Williams in 2020.
Alex Albon returns for his second year with the team this year and will be partnered by rookie team-mate Logan Sargeant, F1's first American driver since 2016.
Williams will also have a new team principal in James Vowles - the highly-respected Mercedes strategy chief - although he was not present at Monday's launch as he doesn't start in his role until February 20.
The FW45 will hit the track at Silverstone on Monday, February 13, before pre-season testing begins the following week.
Pre-season testing is all live on Sky Sports F1 from February 23-25, as is every Formula 1 practice, qualifying and race. The season-opener is the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5.
Will new recruits help Williams end miserable run?
With 16 world championship titles to their name, only Ferrari and McLaren have won more titles than Williams - but the Grove outfit have been rock bottom of the standings in four of the last five seasons.
Powered by Mercedes engines, Williams will be aiming to leap up the field in 2023 after scoring eight points last year and say they have heavily evolved the sidepod concept on this year's car.
They also say there are modifications to the front suspension layout and 'major external aerodynamic surfaces', while the car will be more 'aerodynamically efficient' than last season's FW44.
Tasked with leading their rebuild is Vowles, while Albon - Max Verstappen's former Red Bull team-mate - and rookie team-mate Sargeant form a young driver line-up.
"The team has worked really hard last year and over the winter to address some key areas in our car, putting in the work to try and maximise what we get out of the car for 2023," said Albon.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what the FW45 can do."
Williams in F1 2023
|Team boss||James Vowles|
|2022 championship finish||10th|
|Best championship finish||1st (x9)|
Sargeant, 22, replaces Nicholas Latifi at Williams after finishing fourth in the feeder Formula 2 championship last year.
He added: "I'm really excited for the season to get started after what, for me, feels like a long winter! I'm super motivated and we've put a lot of hard work in.
"The car is looking amazing and it shows the huge effort the team has put in the off season, so I'm looking forward to getting started at Silverstone before heading out to Bahrain."
Williams also have a driver academy that includes three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick, who is bidding to make her name Stateside this season in Indy NXT.
Williams' liveries over the years
What's new on the cars for 2023?
While there is no rules overhaul for next year like there was for 2022, there are subtle changes to the rules and cars that teams can take advantage of.
The most notable is a higher ride height. This is essentially lifting the cars higher off the ground to help reduce the bouncing 'porpoising' phenomenon that affected teams - most notably Mercedes - in 2022.
This is done by raising the floor edge and throat, while the diffuser edge has also been stiffened. There is also an additional sensor to effectively monitor porpoising.
F1 2023: When are the new cars being revealed?
|January 31||Haas (livery launch)||Online|
|February 3||Red Bull||New York|
|February 6||Williams (livery launch)||Online|
|February 7||Alfa Romeo||Zurich|
|February 11||AlphaTauri||New York|
|February 13||Aston Martin||Silverstone|
While these are mostly for safety reasons and are expected to initially cost teams time due to a stiffer floor, it could also narrow the field with a higher ride height thought to have been key to Red Bull and Ferrari's 2023 cars.
The other changes to the cars revolve around outlawing designs such as Aston Martin's rear wing and Mercedes' front wing from 2023, and more safety additions.
The roll hoops, for example, have been strengthened following Zhou Guanyu's dramatic crash at Silverstone last year.