Williams – under Paddy Lowe and Dirk de Beer – has gone for a radical difference from the last four years, surrendering the low-drag concept and going all-out for downforce. It’s another design very influenced by the 2017 Ferrari. It features a significantly longer wheelbase, all of it coming by moving the front axle forward. It gives much more scope in the barge board area but completely changes the previous airflow regime. This really is a ground zero design for Williams, so it would be no surprise to see its competitiveness increase as the season progresses.
The nose is raised quite radically compared with the FW40, giving a much more aggressively sculpted underside – hence quite an aggressive S-duct – and then a Merc-like cape. High Ferrari-like radiator inlets sit behind and above a separate side impact crash structure (as per the SF70H). Like the W09, it features a big longitudinal vane, directing flow to sidepod inlets.
The diffuser is much more angular than before and has more compartments – following a similar path that worked for Renault from Silverstone onwards in 2017.