Williams declare fresh start after dismal 2019 season

Williams' Nicholas Latifi in action during practice at the Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo November 15, 2019. — Reuters pic
Williams' Nicholas Latifi in action during practice at the Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo November 15, 2019. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Feb 17 — Williams showed off their new Formula One car with fighting talk on Monday as the former champions seek to revive their fortunes after finishing last with just one point in a dismal 2019 campaign.

The British-based team presented the FW43 as an evolution of last year’s Mercedes-powered car, for a season with no major changes before a rules revolution in 2021, but with problem areas addressed.

“This year marks a fresh start for the team,” said deputy principal Claire Williams in a statement after images of the car were released online.

“We have spent time addressing our areas of weakness and have ensured that we have the right people, structures, procedures and resource in place to deliver competitive race cars.

“We are all committed to re-building Williams and returning the team to competitiveness. As such, our 2020 campaign is about making progress. The fighting spirit is still very much alive.”

Once-dominant Williams have not won a grand prix since Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado’s triumph in Spain in 2012. Before that they last won in 2004.

The team’s last world championship success came with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.

They have scored only eight points, the equivalent of one sixth place, in the last two years. The speed of the decline has been shocking, with Williams third in the championship in 2014 and 2015.

Design director Doug McKiernan said the new car, with a revised livery, had no fundamental concept changes.

“We have paid significant attention to understanding the problem areas of the FW42 and we have carefully chosen parts of the car to develop, those that would give us the most performance for the resources we have,” he explained.

“There has been a healthy development rate in the wind tunnel, and we have found reasonable improvements in the cooling efficiency.

“The team has addressed the mechanical issues that affected it in 2019, these include the brakes and the overall weight of the car. We have made some good progress across these areas and will continue to focus on them during the season.”

Testing in Spain starts on Wednesday and just being there will be a step up on last year when Williams were unable to get their car ready in time, finally turning up in Barcelona three days late.

The team have a changed line-up this year with 22-year-old Briton George Russell the more experienced driver alongside Canadian rookie Nicholas Latifi, who replaces departed Pole Robert Kubica.

The season starts in Australia on March 15. — Reuters

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