The new machine, once again to be raced by Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, is an evolution of last year’s impressive FW36 which carried Williams to nine podiums and third place in the constructors’ standings - the team’s highest finish since 2003.
“The desire to beat Ferrari to third place in the Constructors’ in 2014 meant we pushed our development through to late autumn, but the size of the team is now at a point where it was able to sustain this development whilst still working on the FW37,” said Williams’ chief technical officer Pat Symonds.
“The notion for the FW37 was to look closely at the FW36 and its performances. We then went about recognising what had worked well and identifying and resolving the areas that we felt needed to be improved. Although the aerodynamics of the car were impressive there is always room for improvement particularly as we handle the new 2015 nose regulations.”
Unlike last winter, which saw the teams coping with an unprecedented amount of technical change, the regulations have remained relatively stable between 2014 and 2015, allowing Williams to target crucial areas for improvement.
“We felt we came up against design barriers in the FW36 and so took the opportunity to remove those barriers for the benefit of the performance,” explained Symonds. “The FW36 carried a reasonable amount of ballast, so we were able to make alterations to the design for added performance without the fear of adding excessive mass.”
The layout phase of the new car was completed by the annual summer shutdown last August, with work on the new front bulkhead a main priority for the designers and aerodynamicists at Grove.
“The change in regulations offered us a slight headache,” said Symonds. “The new front bulkhead and nose geometry had much more of an impact than we had initially anticipated and the effect on the aero was profound. The team have worked hard on pulling back the deficit these regulations have made for us.”
After a strong 2014 campaign, Symonds sees no reason why Williams should not continue to progress this season: “The more rule stability there is, the closer the field gets,” he commented.
“I hope as a team we are more capable of maintaining the forward momentum to catch Mercedes, than the teams behind us are of catching us. It’s not just about stable regulations but also about the team and every individual that works here moving forward and improving.”
Team principal Frank Williams added: “The team had a fantastic season last year, we are aiming to replicate this development over the winter and to start the 2015 season in a strong position. We have an enormously talented group of people here at Williams who want nothing more than the team to do well. This passion produced a great turn around in fortunes for the team in 2014 and everybody has worked tirelessly to continue that climb up the grid.
“We have added a few more high profile names to accompany the incredibly supportive group of partners we have. After a very strong first year with Mercedes we are looking to further develop the relationship as we look for more podiums in 2015. I feel this year will be equally as exciting as the last and look forward to seeing the car on the grid at the first race.”
The new car, which was fired up for the first time on Tuesday, is expected to make its public debut at the first pre-season test of the year in Jerez, Spain from February 1-4.