[F1 2018 NEWS FEATURE] WILLIAMS: PRAGMATIC FORCE

Williams has revealed the car that it hopes will catapult it back up the grid, bringing the team back into the light, as part of a return to form over the short to medium term.

The striking FW41 is a departure from previous low-drag design concepts, one more fitting with the team’s new progressive approach.

It’s also the first true product from chief technical officer Paddy Lowe and his new engineering team including head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer – formerly of Ferrari and Lotus.

And while expectations are being kept low ahead of pre-season testing in Barcelona next week, Williams is quietly confident about the car.

SOUNDBITE (English) PADDY LOWE,
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER, WILLIAMS:
“But you’ll notice a lot of changes in the shape, particularly around the sidepods, and various other noticeable differences to last year’s car. It’s being called aggressive. I think we’ll see whether that translates into performance.”

That positive energy was carried into its season launch last Thursday, the event presided over by former BBC F1 anchor Jake Humphrey.

And Claire Williams, returning to her deputy team principal role after having a baby last year, enthused about incoming rookie Sergey Sirotkin.

SOUNDBITE (English) CLAIRE WILLIAMS,
DEPUTY TEAM PRINCIPAL, WILLIAMS:
“I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people this year, and personally I can’t wait to see him. His technical capability, combined with his track efficiency is just, it’s really impressive.”

The young Russian is serious about his role, having been at Williams’ factory five days a week for the past five weeks.

SOUNDBITE (English) SERGEY SIROTKIN,
F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“Simulator. Seat fit. Engineering meeting. Many other stuff, so yeah, it was a busy week that’s why we’re really curious to see where we are.”

SOUNDUP (English) JAKE HUMPHREY,
FORMER BBC F1 COMMENTATOR:
“Like having a proper job… 

SOUNDBITE (English) SERGEY SIROTKIN,
F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“Yeah.”

SOUNDUP (English) JAKE HUMPHREY,
FORMER BBC F1 COMMENTATOR:
“And was that something you wanted to do or was that something the team thought was a good idea?”

SOUNDBITE (English) SERGEY SIROTKIN,
F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“It’s both, really. It’s a good advantage for both sides.”

Sirotkin joins Lance Stroll - who’s gunning for better results in his second year with Williams, the Canadian stating he feels like a different driver on account of his rookie-year experience.

SOUNDBITE (English) LANCE STROLL,
F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“I’ve been to every track once, I have a [full] season under my belt and that just allows me to come in with a lot more clarity and much better idea of what I have to do.”

Former Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica was also present, the Pole set to get more track time as development and reserve driver.

SOUNDBITE (English) ROBERT KUBICA,
RESERVE DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“I will do three FP1s. I will do some pre-season testing, in-season testing, so fundamental was I felt in order to participate and to supply the best job I can deliver, it was important for me to have a chance to drive.”

It’s all on the line as the historic British squad heads to pre-season testing, but there’s plenty of hope 2018 could be a far better year.