Williams FW38: First pictures revealed

2016 F1 season

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The first pictures of the Williams FW38, the car the team will use for the 2016 F1 season, have been revealed.

Williams will use Mercedes power for the third season running this year and has retained drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Frank Williams said his team has “started to cement our position back amongst the front running teams after finishing third in the championship in the past two seasons”.

“This has been a great achievement given the resources of those around us. Staying where we are will be a challenge in itself, but we are determined to keep improving because only winning will ever be good enough.”

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said the FW38 will receive its first update package before the season begins.

“The car we are launching today is by no means the final product,” she said. “We are already planning updates for Melbourne and will be pushing for constant improvements over the course of the season.”

Work on the new car began “in mid-January 2015, before the FW37 had even run” according to chef technical officer Pat Symonds. “We held a meeting to try and work our way through a concept ‘shopping list’ and to narrow down the areas in which we hoped the FW38 would out perform its pre-nascent forerunner.”

“As we started running the FW37 we could see more clearly the design directions we wanted to take with the next car and at the same time started laying out the basic architecture such that critical path items would hit their design release targets. The monocoque and gearbox, for example, fall into this category as both need considerable time, not just in design but also in structural analysis.”

Williams has scored podium finishes with both drivers in the last two seasons but Bottas, the team’s leading points scorer in all three seasons he has raced for them, says they must set their sights higher.

“As a team we need to be able to win races, which is what we are always trying to do,” he said. “I’m sure we have made improvements everywhere as a team, so we’re definitely looking to fight for better results this year.”

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Williams FW38 pictures

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Williams FW38: First pictures revealed”

  1. looks not bad :) But it’s hard to see difference with the 2015 model. Is there more information or picture’s known?

    1. @macleod So far Williams have only released two pictures. We may have to wait until it appears at the track on Monday to see more.

      1. Just got the 2015 picture checked and i notice the floor has strange patron? and the POD wings are really completed and lots of antenna’s in the front.

  2. Didn’t they say they were taking a different approach to designing the car? Looks can be deceiving I guess.

    1. Maybe they did not mean a different approach in the way it looks, it is a gentle evolution just last year the designers were standing up when designing and this year they were sat down, this is the different design approach.

  3. Looks like a few aero changes. Other than that I like, I like alot.

  4. Looks like they took some of ferraris last year upgrades )

  5. Looks no different than last year’s Williams. I see this being a trend with a few exceptions.

  6. Let’s hope there is more developement than meets the eye, always liked Williams and more recently Bottas

    unrelated note: I can’t fully describe how much I dislike these gillete mach fusion stealth nuclear power 9000 front wings. at leeast in the 2008’s they looked futuristic with over/under the nose and stuff, now they just look like front heavy mustaches.

    And seeing bits and pieces of them fly off at every race just looks shabby to me… A no-front-wing rule would be better to me, than these house of card builds

    1. I couldn’t agree more about these front wings compared to 2008. Now that you mention the Gillette comparison, I can’t get it out of my head! Very funny :)

    2. What I disliked about the ’08 ones were how high they were (ever since ’05 really), exacerbated by some being bent in the middle and seemingly having the endplates well away from the ground.

  7. LOOK AT THE FRONT WING!!! Looks like it was made in Enstone… Well, I respect Pat for all good things he’s done but FW38 isn’t a significant move ahead, design wise, compared to its predecessor. Low speed and wet performance might remain the same.

    1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      19th February 2016, 10:03

      Who needs CFD, wind tunnels and aerodynamicists when armchair pundits can take a quick look and ascertain relative performance to last year’s car! ;)

      Can’t see it too well but the rear end looks much more neatly packaged with a more pronounced coke bottle, which will assist low speed and wet weather performance. We shall have to wait and see.

      With Torro Rosso’s stellar aero guys and Ferrari power I genuinely think the Faenza squad and WIlliams will be competing for third place for the first half of the season, they had better maximise those points before RB, Renault and possibly even McLaren get in the groove.

      1. I still remember the 2013 launches with Gary Anderson commenting on how impressed with the design he was for each launch. He looked at the Mercedes and was disappointed by the lack of improvement he saw over the 2012 car. With McLaren he was really excited by the amount of evolution and improvements he saw over their 2012 car. We can all remember how that went though.

    2. “The car we are launching today is by no means the final product,” she said.

  8. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    19th February 2016, 10:59

    For those struggling to see how the FW38 differs from the FW37, the biggest visible disparity is certainly the rear packaging, which is significantly advanced from the FW37 raced at the final rounds of 2015. It also makes sense, given that Williams’ main deficit was in slow speed corners, that most attention has been paid to the rear of the car.

    That said, further to Keith’s article on the death of the F1 car launch, we are going to have to get used to incremental launches, because in reality, this launch spec probably has more in common with the Abu Dhabi spec FW37 than the car Williams will race in Melbourne.

    1. The rear end does look a lot neater than the FW37 but I fear they haven’t gone far enough in trying to shrink the sidepods down. They still look incredibly bulky when compared with the W06 or the SF15-T.

  9. Looks nice, although as many people have said, it doesn’t look much different. Maybe it will look much different by Melbourne

  10. Remember you can ignore anything obviously “aero” as it is all placeholder stuff. What we are looking for is the general shape and the livery.

  11. The slope of the nose looks really beautiful in the second picture

  12. Hopefully being an evolution will allow them to be competitive out of the gate.

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