Launch Dates Revealed: Williams and Sauber

TheJudge13 contributor, Dane Hansen, guides you through what is expected to be one of the most anticipated times of the F1 calendar – Launch Season. This is the second post of a staggered series which will list launch dates and more.

Williams – 22 February

What to Expect: Often said to be the renaissance of Williams, 2014 had the team shake the dust off Martini’s Formula One robes, a motoring relationship that started forty-four years ago. Since its reintroduction into the sport, no celebratory Martini’s have been spilled in the Wantage headquarters – even if it bothers the efforts of Valterri Bottas, son of a nation that doesn’t shy away from hard liquor – the team is yet to drink from the top step of the podium, having last done so in 2012. This year’s dress code should reflect a similar image to the last couple of seasons, that being the traditional shades of blue and red with an iceberg white foundation.

Technically Speaking: At the start of the revised engine regulations in 2014, Williams embraced the thought of the infamous anteater nose, which was later snubbed in 2015. In an interview with Bottas, he stated that both he and the team understand their weaknesses. They aim to remedy strategy and pitstop errors, coupled with creating a car that boasts more grip. Pat Symons and Rob Smedley are excited to revel in the opportunities that 2017 will bring, thus leaving this year’s car merely as an evolution of its predecessor. Awaiting the next big rule change next year, 2016 is something of an intermediate stage for most teams. For Rob Smedley, this is one of the most radical evolutions he has whitnessed during his career “with stable regulations, in my years in formula one, it is one of the biggest evolutions I have seen”.

Recent news has suggested that Williams could be in for a shock return to Honda power. The partnership ran from 1984 to 1987. In that time the team won a single driver’s world title and two constructors championships. Trending on the internet is also the positive news that the McLaren camp has deciphered their MGU-K issues, and has subsequently tuned an extra 223bhp for this year’s power unit.

Whether Williams does take this risk or not, will it be a risk worth taking?

Team Budget (€) Points € per point
Williams 186,400,000 151 1,234,437.09

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Sauber – 1 March

What to Expect: With sponsorship money steadily pouring in from Felipe Nasr,  Sauber’s livery changed accordingly. Last year, Peter’s design team ditched the sterile colours of white and grey and traded them for toy-like blue and yellow. This year should host a similar interpretation of Banco do Brasil colours, hopefully with more artistic flair.

Technically Speaking: Last season, Felipe Nasr enjoyed a strong debut, finishing fifth in Melbourne but this season’s stocks could plummet. Sauber has publicly acknowledged they were fortunate to finish ahead of McLaren (for obvious reasons), but fear that an improvement of the Honda PU, and the introduction of Mercedes engines at Manor could thwart their efforts to have a repetition of last year. Marcus Ericsson said it is “not ideal” that this season’s challenger will not be ready for the first pre-season test. The Swiss team has bounced back from launch troubles before, yet the amount of lost time to test their car has the potential to disrupt a significant chunk of 2016. Keeping this in mind, Marcus has quiet confidence in this year’s Ferrari engine, compounded by strength of the Haas-Ferrari partnership he has hopes that any issues technical issues picked up in testing will be resolved come the second test week.

Sauber, like Williams, will have their C35 car as an evolution and not as a revolution. Their reasoning is reminiscent of Formula One’s modern travesties. With more money, you get more done. The little that they has only allowed for evolution.

Team Budget (€) Points € per point
Sauber 103,250,000 22 4,693,181.82

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5 responses to “Launch Dates Revealed: Williams and Sauber

    • They didn’t find in the couch cushions. That’s about a quarter of what the top PUs are supposed to be producing.

      • They found 200+ horsepower *on top of* what the Honda PU was already producing. That’s a large increase. Estimates last year put the Honda PU anywhere between 100-160hp down on the Mercedes unit. Now Mercedes will have increased their power output no doubt, so Honda will still likely have have less hp than them still this year, and maybe still less than Ferrari, but the increase is significant, and when combined with them fixing the deployment issues down the straights, *should* put them mixing with the “best of the rest” cars (Williams, Red Bull, Force India), or maybe even ahead of a couple of those.

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