One of the teams to reveal the 2023 colours, not the car, the Williams FW45 will be on track next week but, aside from the bodyside changes, the car is an “evolution” of last year’s FW44.
Williams launched their 2023 campaign on Monday but, keeping the cards in order, the team showed their livery and not the actual car.
For many fans it has so far been such a nice case in the eye-catching matt blue livery, but what the car looks like and what it can do remains to be seen.
Williams finished at the bottom of the table last season, the Grove team scoring just eight points with a car that lacked traction under braking and out of corners.
Even the fact that he was overweight didn’t help the team, Williams going so far as to strip the paint off the FW44 to get the grams off.
The team hopes to have ironed out many issues with this year’s car, although Williams vehicle performance manager Dave Robson says it is more of an evolution than a revolution.
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“It’s an evolution philosophically,” Robson explained.
“Obviously the rule changes around the floor dominate to some extent, and then I think the other thing you’ll find more obvious is a bit of an upgrade to the sidepod pack, which is an evolution of what we did for the Upgrade Pack Silverstone [in 2022].
“Back then we were a bit constrained by the radiator layout and didn’t want to change it completely. So we had the opportunity to work through that and lay things out a little bit differently.
“Probably the main visible things. But, philosophically, it’s an evolution.
Addressing one of team leader Alex Albon’s curveballs into the car’s handling in low-speed corners, Robson said according to Motorsport.com: “The low-speed, high-downforce corners were definitely important to us in terms of how we specify the car.
“I think a lot is about its characteristics and how riders can use the downforce it has. We have worked a lot on this. We have set some goals.
“It’s difficult to set a lap time target on something like this, and so trading that for simple downforce and drag can be difficult. But we think we’ve set some good goals.
“We think we’ve seen some good progress when we take the aeromap data from the wind tunnel and run it through the simulator with the pilots. But we’ll have to see. We definitely need to make some improvements there and I like to think we have done just that.”
Will Williams be able to take tenth place away this season?
Williams have finished bottom of the table in four of the last five seasons, a fall from grace for the team that once lifted championship trophies.
The team hopes 2023 will yield better results, but there is a long way between Williams’ eight points and AlphaTauri’s 35.
The first step the team needs to take, at least on grand prix weekends, is a better performance in qualifying. While Alex Albon waved the flag with a few appearances in Q2, his 2022 team-mate Nicholas Latifi has been the perennial P20 on the grid.
This year new signing Logan Sargeant feels qualifying is his ‘bread and butter’, so it should be a step up for the Grove team itself.
Williams got very little wrong when it came to Sunday’s Grand Prix last season, the team capitalizing on every opportunity they had. The mindset must stay in 2023, do what others are not or cannot do. For Williams, every point is a bonus, she has the opportunity to take risks with the strategy and she must continue to do so.
Maybe then P9 will be in their hands…