Williams outline ‘step forward’ features to 2023 evolution
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 9th February, 2023 - 3:16am
Williams is confident it has made “a step forward” with its FW45 as it seeks to correct the numerous issues that plagued its 2022 F1 car.
The team is naturally starting off the new Formula 1 season from a low base after finishing last in the constructors’ championship for the fourth time in the past five seasons last year.
It has also undergone high-level management changes following the departures of team principal and CEO Jost Capito and technical director FX Demaison.
Williams has since recruited James Vowles, prising him away from Brackley where he had served BAR, Honda, Brawn GP and Mercedes in a variety of roles, most recently as motorsport strategy director with the latter.
Behind the scenes, the team has continued to work on the FW45 that will undergo a shakedown at Silverstone on Monday prior to then heading out to Bahrain to conduct pre-season testing from February 23-25.
Outlining one of the key changes to the car, head of vehicle performance Dave Robson told invited media, including Speedcafe.com: “The car build is in progress and it’s going well.
“Quite large chunks of the car’s systems have been tested independently, and now the whole car is coming together.
“In terms of the differences to the FW44, then the whole car is an evolution in terms of its physical appearance.
“There have obviously been changes to the regs but probably the most obvious change from last year is around the sidepod shape, which is something we started to focus on part way through last year with the Silverstone package.
“But we couldn’t do the changes we really wanted to, where the actual coolers were. Now we have an opportunity to rework that, so that’s probably the most obvious, visible difference.”
Williams deliver “huge amount of effort”
One of the main weaknesses of the car was low-speed front-locking which affected both Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi last year.
Robson has confirmed considerable strides have been made in a bid to correct that deficiency and others in the team’s bid to claw its way from the back of the pack.
As to how much performance the team has been able to claw back with the FW45, Robson added: “It’s difficult to know exactly how much because it really depends on how that stands up relative to everyone else.
“The floor regulation changes did set us back – it will set everyone back – but we’re quite pleased with how we have reacted to that.
“But overall, the car is a step forward. We’ve seen in the simulator that we’ve started to work quite well on some of the issues that were fairly stand out to the drivers last year.
“So we’re hopeful that will materialise on track and we will quite quickly turn that into lap time, so that’s all very promising.
“It’s been a big effort by everyone, a huge amount of effort throughout the company.
“Everything has gone pretty well in the wind tunnel, with CFD, and now the manufacturing team is just finishing off getting the car ready.
“So we’ll find out in a few weeks’ time, how much it’s all paid off.”
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