The new Williams Mercedes FW38 was unveiled today ahead of the first pre-season test in Barcelona, Spain next week.
For a third successive season the iconic red, white and blue stripes of Williams Martini Racing will be lining up on the Formula One grid, with the team looking to build on a successful 2015 season that resulted in four podiums and a third place finish in the Constructors’ Championship.
Commenting on the new FW38 Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal, said: “Williams 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.
“We have a very stable team going into 2016, with Felipe and Valtteri teaming up for a third successive season. They work well together and both have the ideal blend of speed and consistency. Our technical team has also remained very consistent which will be to our advantage and we have some of the best engineering minds on the grid at our disposal.
“We have a busy couple of weeks of testing coming up to learn more about our package and to refine the car ahead of the first race. We will have to wait until Melbourne to find out exactly where we stand in the pecking order but I’m confident that our hard work over the winter will stand us in good stead.”
Felipe Massa added: “Securing third in the Constructors’ Championship for two consecutive years is a great achievement and one that comes with a lot of expectation – a momentum which I am excited to build on going into the new season. The team at the factory have worked really hard on the new car and we have spent a lot of time understanding where we need to improve. I have a lot of confidence in the team at Williams and I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the FW38 to see how it performs. I’m equally delighted to be teammates with Valtteri for another year. He is a very talented driver who brings a lot to the team.”
Valtteri Bottas, who is about to embark on his fourth season in Formula One with Williams, said: “This is always a really interesting and exciting time of the year because we have a new car and we can’t wait to get it out on track to see how it feels and how fast it is. It’s been a good winter and from what I’ve seen we seem to be headed in a good direction with this car. Testing next week will be our chance to see how our performance has improved since the last race. The development of the FW38 has been all positive in theory, now we just need to see it on track.
“As a team we need to be able to win races, which is what we are always trying to do. I’m sure we have made improvements everywhere as a team, so we’re definitely looking to fight for better results this year. I’d like to thank everyone at the factory for their hard work over the winter in getting the car ready.”
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, concluded. “2016 promises to be a very competitive year in Formula One and there will be a number of strong teams who have us in their sights. We are confident that we have made a step forward over the winter and that the FW38 will build on the strengths of the FW37 and address some of its weaknesses. We started design work on the car earlier than normal and hopefully this extra development time will stand us in good stead.
“The car we are launching today is by no means the final product. We are already planning updates for Melbourne and will be pushing for constant improvements over the course of the season. Williams enters 2016 in a strong place. We have a great team of people and over the past two years we have started to regain our competitive edge. Now we need to build on that and take this team back to where we all want it to be.”
The FW38 will take to the track for the first time on 22nd February for eight days of testing that concludes on 4th March. The season officially gets under way at the first race in Melbourne, Australia, on 20th March.
It might just be the angle from which this photo’s taken, but this new livery doesn’t look quite as good as the previous two season’s cars.
The Williams livery from 2014 and 2015 made it the best looking car on the grid. Even when they had to lose the “Martini” and sometimes also slightly changed the stripes, to comply with the alcohol advertising rules in places like Sochi and the Arabic tracks, they still had the best livery on the grid.
Last season I was surprised McLaren didn’t introduce an update on the classic McLaren Honda colours, from the hugely successful late 80s / early 90s period. Instead they went for the dull but sensible change from metallic silver-grey to black – saving a surprising amount of weight. It’d be interesting to know if other teams using metallic colour schemes could save similar amounts of weight in that way?
I hope Sauber keep the same Brazilian colours this year. I was really impressed with their new slightly retro look last year, it looked liked a classic stylish livery from 20 or 30 years ago – using bold and bright primary colours (though I know not everyone was as impressed, but I thought Sauber deserved credit at least for doing something different which stood out).
I hope Manor come up with something better this year. Last year whilst understandable, it looked like they hadn’t even tried to produce any proper design or identity.
Talking of proper design, I really hope some conclusion to VJ Mallya’s money troubles comes soon. Force India had the ugliest car on the grid in recent years. Doubtless partly due to most of the sponsorship names belonging to some extent to VJ himself – hence less chance of sponsors complaining that the sheer number of names and logos slapped on willy-nilly, ended up obscuring virtually all apart from the big Kingfisher logo on the rear wing.