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Williams prepare to fight back with the FW34 07 Feb 2012

(L to R): Bruno Senna (BRA) and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) with the new Williams FW34. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 7 February 2012. The new Williams FW34.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday, 7 February 2012 (L to R): Bruno Senna (BRA) and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) with the new Williams FW34.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday, 7 February 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday, 7 February 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Following a disastrous 2011 season, Williams opened a new chapter in their history on Tuesday as they unveiled their 2012 car, the Renault-powered FW34, at the Jerez circuit in Spain. This year marks the team’s 35th year competing in the sport which they will do with a revitalised line-up.

Bruno Senna partners Pastor Maldonado after a considered winter evaluation process, while Finn Valtteri Bottas completes the driver line-up as official reserve, taking part in most of the season’s Friday practice sessions.

“One could say that looking at the Williams F1 Team today we are off to a truly fresh start,” said team boss Frank Williams. “We have a new car, new driver line up, new engine and new senior personnel. We also have a number of new partners who have joined the team in the past few months.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome them formally and sincerely wish that they have an enjoyable and, most importantly, a valuable experience with us. The team has had a good winter at the factory and we feel ready and strong for the fight.”

The mechanical and aerodynamic design and development direction of the FW34 has been driven by a new technical leadership. Guided by new technical director Mike Coughlan following the departure of Sam Michael, this year’s car takes on a fresh design philosophy. Revised FIA technical regulations - of which the most significant are bans on exhaust blowing and exotic engine mapping and a drop in nose height, the FW34 carries fewer than five percent of the parts from last year’s FW33.

“We are really looking forward to this season and from a personal perspective I can't wait to get the FW34 on to the race track,” said Mark Gillan, chief operations engineer. “The factory has worked extremely hard over the winter to ensure that the car met its design, build and rig test targets and we start testing with the car prepared to a high standard.”

Williams rejoin Renault for their engine partnership. Williams and Renault enjoyed a nine-year association between 1989 and 1997 which produced four drivers’ and five constructors’ titles and 63 race wins. The French manufacturer’s RS27 V8 power unit is renowned for its drivability, flexibility and durability and will provide the FW34 with a strong performance platform for the forthcoming season.

“We’ve worked in close co-operation with all of our partners to achieve that, including Renault Sport F1,” added Gillan. “In the run-up to Australia, we will be working hard with our exciting new driver line-up to ensure that we maximise and unlock the full potential of the FW34. It is imperative that we demonstrate a continuous improvement in our performance and deliver results throughout the season.”

Williams scored just five points last year, but both the team’s drivers are confident of an improved showing in 2012. Venezuelan Maldonado begins his second season with the Grove squad after his confident 2011 debut during which he compared well with veteran team mate Rubens Barrichello.

“I'm happy to be racing again with Williams,” said Maldonado. “I have faith in the FW34 and the Renault engine and so have high hopes for the races ahead. It will be very important that we develop the car from the start of the season to the end. Now that I have a year’s experience, I can help in that area much more now.

“As we start a new year, it's an exciting moment for my country Venezuela and I hope we can give them some good results to thank them for their continued support. We have many new components in the team so we will need to be focussed and work together well so that we may be stronger every day. I wish everyone in the team the best for the year and welcome Renault and Bruno.”

Senna, meanwhile, will make his Williams debut, the Brazilian having previously raced with Renault (now Lotus) and HRT in 2011 and 2010 respectively.

“I’m very excited to be back in action with the Williams F1 Team in Jerez,” he said. “This is my ever first pre-season testing programme since I started in Formula One two years ago. I’m really motivated and looking forward to working hard and with everyone in the team. I hope we have a successful month testing and developing the car so we arrive in Melbourne as well prepared as possible.”

The FW34 is due to make its track debut on Tuesday morning at Jerez, as the first pre-season test of 2012 gets underway with 11 of the 12 teams present.

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