Williams has hit a bit of a glass ceiling in recent years. Third place in the Constructors’ Championship is certainly nothing to be sniffed at, but how do you go one further against the might of Ferrari and Mercedes?
The launch version of the Grove squad’s FW38 is largely a carry over car, hence why it looks almost identical to its predecessor. The front and rear wings are the 2015 launch spec and the nose looks the same also. But, being the first to launch means Williams has some time to bring different parts. Rumours persist that a new nose solution and new wings will be brought to the later test.
The main chassis concept is a development of what Williams enjoyed in 2015, low drag and high speed. The sidepods have been raised and the air intake shape shuffled to optimise cooling. The front wishbones also have less rake on them this year, sitting flatter than last year’s car.
The aim was to strengthen the weakness of the FW37, which was predominantly found in slow-speed corners (and the wet).
Team technical director Pat Symonds said: “The FW37 was a pretty effective car and so we concentrated on understanding the areas where we could improve it without losing the attributes that made it effective.
“It is no secret the low-speed performance of the FW37 didn’t match its high-speed performance, so a lot of time was spent looking into why this was and subsequently making changes, which we hope will improve the situation.
“On top of this we looked at the normal physical obstacles to development that one always meets during the life of a car and tried to push those barriers back.”
TEAM STATS Williams Chassis FW38 Engine Mercedes PU106C
History Races 649 Wins 114 Poles 128 Fastest laps 133 Teams’ titles 9