Concept change means Williams FW44 is a ‘new car’

Jon Wilde
Side view of Alex Albon's Williams. Red Bull Ring July 2022.

Williams have revealed they are treating their heavily-revised FW44, driven by Alex Albon at the last two races, as essentially a “new car”.

Albon was given the major upgrades for the British Grand Prix, but any hope of them bringing an immediate reward were scuppered before he had even reached the first corner as he was punted into the wall and out of the race by Sebastian Vettel.

The British-Thai driver then finished 12th in Austria, while his team-mate Nicholas Latifi retired with floor damage and the Canadian hopes the big updates will be on his car for the French Grand Prix.

It was no surprise Williams have tried a different approach because they are last in the Constructors’ standings, with only the three points collected by Albon so far, and their revamped design has headed more in the Red Bull direction regarding its sidepods – although there is no suggestion of copying.

Even Albon himself said: “Everyone started a bit different and it’s either the Ferrari concept or the Red Bull concept that seems to be adopted.

“Ours looks more like the Red Bull car, but I wouldn’t call it like-for-like. It’s the direction we’ve headed into.”

Alex Albon drives the upgraded Williams FW44. Austria, July 2022.

Williams technical director FX Demaison told Motorsport.com the changes had been so extensive that: “We can really call it a new car, because the list of parts we kept is much shorter than the ones we changed.”

He added: “We saw many, many other cars going in other directions. We are not [so] stupid to not look somewhere else and not look at what the others do.

“For this, it took a bit of time and analysis before we were ready to go because we didn’t want to copy without understanding. That’s why it was only at race 10 we saw it because we first wanted to understand the concept.”

Demaison added that the revamp has opened up greater options for further development compared to the previous spec.

“It’s not the end of the story,” said the Frenchman. “I think we have many different solutions that are already tested and we will carry on with this concept. It opens many more doors whereas the concept before meant we were stuck.

“It gives you the option to run a softer car at a higher ride height. You don’t lose so much in the slow sections with lack of mechanical grip or lack of downforce. And that all brings lap time.”

 

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