Williams unveil definitive 2011 race livery 24 Feb 2011
With just 28 days to go until the Australian Grand Prix gets underway in Melbourne, Williams have revealed their 2011 cars race livery at a special event at the team's UK F1 Conference Centre. The blue and white design, which also features splashes of red, will grace the Cosworth-powered FW33 throughout the coming season.
Although their new car made its track debut on February 1, the British team have been running an interim test livery throughout the three opening pre-season tests.
Williams technical director Sam Michael was in attendance at the unveiling and spoke to the assembled media about the theory behind the technicalities of the cars design. Michael drew particular attention to the compact nature of the FW33s rear end.
We ended up with a pull-rod suspension to improve air to the rear wing," he explained. "And thats really where the gearbox comes in as well, as the whole driving force behind it is to improve airflow to that rear lower wing. We saw very early on in the aerodynamic development that this - along with exhaust-blowing - was going to be a key differentiator this year.
The driveshaft angles that we have had to put the car through are very extreme. They are higher angles than anyone has ever done in Formula One before. It took a lot of dyno testing - weve completed many thousands of kilometres. The first time we started doing tests on the driveshaft was back in June last year. We had a full gearbox and rear end on the dyno by September/October. We knew by then that we were under control with it.
The Australian believes that the restrictive nature of this seasons technical regulations have forced designers back to the drawing board to innovate in order to maintain a level of performance. This, he believes, has led to a very distinctive looking crop of 2011 cars.
One thing thats very interesting about Formula One now is that if you look at the cars there are some very interesting concepts out there, he said. And the reason why is because the rules have been restrained so much on bodywork and you can do very little on the diffuser now. Teams have had to push very hard in other areas and take much bigger risks than they would have done in the past.
The interesting designs for me are obviously the Williams tight rear end, the double floor on the Toro Rosso and the forward exhaust on the Renault. These are all things that potentially some of them you could have done before. But you didnt because there was much bigger gains for much lower risk. And I think that it is great for Formula One because the cars dont look the same, they do look different, and everyones trying different concepts.
Michael also explained why Williams have opted for a battery KERS system for 2011, having previously championed - though never actually raced - a flywheel system, something which Michael said could return in the future.
We did consider a flywheel for this car, he said. It was very close, but unfortunately the packaging stopped us doing that to start with. Obviously Williams Hybrid Power work with flywheels in other industries and we havent discounted introducing a flywheel to this car at some point. It would be very unlikely during 2011 but it will definitely be on the cards again for 2012.
One of the teams race drivers - Pastor Maldonado - joined Michael at the event. Rookie Maldonado will race alongside veteran Rubens Barrichello in 2011, who was unable to attend as he was back home in Brazil celebrating his 14th wedding anniversary with wife Silvana.
Maldonado and Barrichello have so far enjoyed some success at the pre-season tests, with Barrichello topping the timesheets on one day at the second session in Jerez, and Michael is clearly pleased.
We have had no issues with the transmission, no issues with the rear suspension, no problems at all, which is great, he concluded. The fundamental part of the car is right and it enables us to just concentrate on performance. There have been a couple of little, annoying system problems, but generally it has been pretty good.
Maldonado and Barrichello are expected back on track in the FW33 at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya for the final pre-season test from March 8-11.
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