Williams has targeted a big reduction in its gap to F1’s front-runners with its new FW41.
Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe said the team is “trying to achieve an element of step change” when the first images of the car were presented to the media at a launch event in London.
“We were two seconds or so a lap slower than the front runners last year and that’s something we’d like to close up considerably,” he said. “So we were looking for a step change and I hope we’ve delivered a strong element of that with this car.”
The FW41 features a more radical bargeboard treatment as the team follows the lead set by rivals such as Ferrari when the technical regulations were shaken up last year.
“As we know the 2017 regulations gave new freedom in the bargeboard area and we saw in 2017 an explosion of new devices in that space,” Lowe explained.
“That process has continued yet further. When you see the car close-up you’ll see we’ve developed that area even more. I’ll be expecting to see the same on our competition. It’s the biggest area of opportunity still not fully exploited with these new regulations that came in last year.”
Regulations changes have had an effect on the team’s design of the external aerodynamic surfaces towards the rear of the car.
“The T-wing is illegal but you see we still have what we call the gearbox wing,” said Lowe. “We were the first to fit that last year on our car. It’s like a lower T-wing so we will carry on with that and I imagine many of the other cars will feature such a wing now in this space.”
“Still in a similar area we’ve lost what was called the ‘monkey seat’ wing. That was made illegal interestingly because you will remember the big era of exhaust-blowing we had 2010, 2011,  – which was an exciting period actually on the car – interestingly it emerged again in 2017 as a new capability so the monkey seat wing has been banned in order to reduce that effect again for next year.”
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