One of the teams to reveal their 2023 colours, not the car, the Williams FW45 will be on track next week but aside from changes to the sidepods, the car is an “evolution” of last year’s FW44.
Williams launched their 2023 campaign on Monday but, keeping their cards close to their chest, the team showed off their livery and not the actual car.
It was for many fans a case of so far so good with the eye-catching matte blue livery but what the car looks like, and what it can do, remains to be seen.
Last season Williams finished bottom of the log, the Grove team scoring just eight points with a car that lacked traction under braking and out of corner exits.
That it was overweight also didn’t help the team, Williams going as far as to remove paint from the FW44 to take grams off.
The team is hoping they’ve resolved a lot of their issues with this year’s car, although Williams’ head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, says it is more an evolution than a revolution.
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“It’s philosophically an evolution,” explained Robson.
“Obviously the regulation changes around the floor dominate some of it, and then I think the other thing that you’ll find that is most obvious is a bit of an update to the sidepod package, which is an evolution of what we did for the Silverstone upgrade package [in 2022].
“We were a bit constrained then by the radiator layout and not wanting to completely change that. So we’ve had an opportunity to work on that and lay things out a little bit differently.
“They’re probably the main visible things. But, philosophically, it’s an evolution.”
Addressing one of team leader Alex Albon’s corners about the handling of the car through slow speed corners, Robson said as per Motorsport.com: “The low speed, high downforce corners were certainly important to us in terms of how we spec the car out.
“I think a lot of that is about its characteristics and how the drivers can utilise the downforce it does have. We’ve done a lot of work on that. We set some targets.
“It’s difficult to sort of put a lap time target on something like that, and therefore trading it against just basic downforce and drag can be difficult. But we think we set some good targets.
“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 drivers. But we’ll have to see. We certainly need to make some improvements there and I’d like to think we’ve done just that.”
Can Williams shuck off P10 this season?
Williams have finished bottom of the log in four of the last five seasons, a fall from grace for the team that once lifted championship trophies.
The team is hoping 2023 yields better results but there’s a long way between Williams’ eight points and AlphaTauri’s 35.
The first step the team needs to make, at least on grand prix weekends, is a better showing in qualifying. While Alex Albon flew the flag with a few Q2 appearances, his 2022 team-mate Nicholas Latifi was the perennial P20 on the grid.
This year new signing Logan Sargeant reckons qualifying is his “bread and butter” so that should be a step forward for the Grove team in itself.
There was very little Williams did wrong when it came to grand prix Sundays last season, the team capitalising whenever they had the opportunity. The mindset must remain in 2023, do what the others aren’t or can’t do. For Williams any point is a bonus, they have the scope to take risks with strategy and must continue to do so.
Maybe then P9 will be in their grasp…