British team in confident mood for coming season
Williams 2007 car, the FW29, got its official launch at the teams UK headquarters on Friday morning. Race drivers Alexander Wurz and Nico Rosberg were in attendance at the Grove factory as the wraps came off the Toyota-powered machine. With it Williams hope to bounce back after the disappointment of last season.
Without question, 2006 was not our finest year but I am delighted to see how the entire Williams workforce has pulled together and redoubled its efforts over the winter, said Frank Williams, whose team finished eighth in last years constructors championship.
It is how you perform in adversity that really counts. We begin this year with a completely new brand identity courtesy of our new partners AT&T, four new or upgraded sponsors including Lenovo, a wealth of new engineering talent and, of course, what we hope to be the focus of all these efforts and ambitions, the FW29.
Technical director Sam Michael explained the cars new features: The FW29 continues the design philosophy of the FW28 with a zero keel configuration. The other notable elements of the design include another step in the undercut of the sidepod leading edge (with top louvres for cooling), improved engine and exhaust packaging to address the reliability issues experienced in 2006 and a lower and narrower top deck for improved aerodynamic efficiency.
The other prominent differences from the FW28 include large chimneys expressly for cooling at the seasons first three races and a narrower engine cover spine. At the rear of the car, a twin pillar configuration supports a lighter and lower drag rear wing, now featuring FIA-mandatory slot gap separators to prevent deflection and a lower and wider rear impact structure as required by regulation.
Looking ahead to the coming season with the FW29, Williams Director of Engineering, Patrick Head, summarised the teams approach: Of course we start every project we undertake with the ambition of being the best, whether in engineering or marketing terms and indeed we approach every race with the sole ambition to win.
But we are not in the business of predicting the year ahead as that requires me to speculate about the likely performance of our rivals. All I can say is that as an organisation we exist to race and everyone in the company has shown a singular sense of purpose over the winter and so we look forward to Melbourne with anticipation.
The FW29 will make its track debut at Jerez in Spain next Tuesday (February 6). Williams will bring two new chassis to the session to build upon the significant testing mileage already undertaken over the winter using interim cars. Test drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Kazuki Nakajima will support racers Wurz and Rosberg in the build-up to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March.