F1’s ‘late’ team hits track in Bahrain for last pre-testing shakedown

Michelle Foster
2024 Williams F1 FW46 Render 1

The new 2024 Williams FW46 livery has been revealed, with the team re-signing 1990s sponsor Komatsu.

Late to the track having opted for additional virtual tests back at the factory, Williams’ FW46 completed its first laps in Bahrain on Tuesday with Logan Sargeant behind the wheel.

Last week, as their rivals ventured out for a shakedown run before heading to Bahrain for pre-season testing, Williams were conspicuous in their absence.

However, team boss James Vowles was quick to point out that wasn’t because something had gone wrong in their preparations, rather it was a conscious decision.

Williams have completed the first laps in the FW46

“A bit of it is,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com, “we’ve pushed ourselves to the absolute limits, a bit of it is actually I believe far more in doing other testing, if you’d like to call it that, and then use Bahrain as the opportunity to get started.

“We could easily have run down there, but there was a balance between doing the virtual track test and Silverstone.

“I much rather wanted to spend the time dedicated to the virtual track test and we’ll shake it down in Bahrain.”

And shake it down is what the team did on Tuesday morning with Williams posting a video on X of Sargeant driving out of the car in the FW46.

Sargeant continues with the team this season, racing alongside Alex Albon with Williams hoping to build on last year’s P7 in the Constructors’ Championship.

“Since joining Williams Racing a year ago,” Vowles said at the team’s livery launch earlier this month, “I’ve seen this team pull together to overcome a number of challenges and claim seventh in the Constructors’ Championship, which meant a great deal for everyone involved. We’ve also shown the world that we’re building the foundations for moving forward.

“We’ll continue to strengthen the team both on and off the track through improvements to our infrastructure, investing in our people, and attracting fantastic new partners like Komatsu.

“Of course, there’s still a long way to go on this journey together but I know our fans, partners and everyone at Grove HQ are pushing as one to create new history for this iconic team.

“It will take time, but everyone’s support is integral to helping drive us towards success in the years to come. I’m looking forward to seeing what this season holds for us.”

The FW46 will be back out on track on Wednesday as F1’s three-day pre-season testing begins, with the 2024 championship kicking off a week later in Bahrain.

Read next: ‘High suspicions’ over Red Bull emerge as RB20 ‘dummy car’ theory revealed