Williams reveals 2018 F1 car, claims “significant progress in aerodynamic performance”
Williams launched its 2018 Formula 1 car, the FW41, in London on Thursday evening. The team will field Sergey Sirotkin alongside Lance Stroll for the 2018 season, with Robert Kubica as its reserve driver. Sirotkin reportedly brought a £15 million sum with him from long-time sponsor, SMP. Retiree Felipe Massa finished 11th in the 2017 drivers’ standings, three points ahead of Stroll, leaving Williams fifth in the constructors’ championship, 105 points behind Force India.
The FW41 still carries the Martini livery, though it was speculated that 22-year-old rookie Sirotkin and his team-mate, 19-year-old Stroll, would call Williams’ partnership with the alcohol brand into question due to their ages.
“Lance produced some impressive performances last year in what was a remarkably strong debut season, where he only just lost out to Felipe in the standings,” said deputy team principal, Claire Williams. “His podium finish was the only one outside of the top three teams, and we aim to build on that this season.
“It’s also my pleasure to welcome Sergey and Robert to Williams, who have both displayed exceptional speed and qualities that I know will only strengthen the team. Sergey has impressed the technical team and it is great for us to be able to give him the opportunity to step up into a race seat. Robert will also be working closely with the team, utilising his experience to help develop the car throughout the season.
“Our entire team has put a huge amount of effort into the development and production of this year’s car, and we’re all looking forward to seeing it on the track,” continued Williams.
Chief technical officer, Paddy Lowe, touted the car’s radical departure from the 2017 car’s aero, and stated that the team has included improvements from Mercedes’ engine department.
“[The FW41] is the product of some great teamwork across the various functions in the organisation including aerodynamics design, vehicle dynamics, race engineering and systems engineering,” 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.
“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. Overall, the philosophy we are starting to see emerge is a new approach to the collaboration between aerodynamics and design to achieve the optimum working result.
“Aerodynamics, structure and weight are the three major trades to be made in designing a Formula 1 car, and all the work, alongside a number of radical changes to the car’s packaging to incorporate further developments from Mercedes HPP, have led us to the FW41 being revealed today.
“We hope that this car will make progress in the performance rankings relative to 2017. The whole technical team is also feeling very positive about our two talented young race drivers with the combination of Lance and Sergey, alongside the contribution of Robert as our reserve and development driver”
Stroll, starting his second year in F1, said: “I am very excited and optimistic about the car the team has built. Last year was a steep learning curve for me and now I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.”
Reserve driver, 33-year-old Kubica, who will take part in Friday practice sessions in Spain and Austria, added, “I’m back in F1 in a different role to when I was racing in 2011, but I’m back permanently in the F1 paddock, so I’m looking forward to it. It will be interesting to go back to some of the places I have been before, some of them providing different emotions from different moments in my life.
“Sometimes it can be quite difficult watching others racing, but I have a different role this year. It’s sure to be a tough season with a lot of races and things to do. I have to be on top of the work I have to do for the team.”