Williams have launched their car for the 2018 Formula 1 season, unveiling the FW41 at an event in London this evening.
Williams are the second team to show off this year’s racer after Haas launched their car yesterday.
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) February 15, 2018
The car includes the new-for-2018 Halo device, which provides increased protection to the driver’s head, while the shark fins also have a different look for 2017. The car’s livery isn’t drastically different to the 2017 colour scheme, sticking with the Martini colours.
Looking ahead to the 2018 season, Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said: “I am thrilled to be back and launching our new car, for a new season, with a new, exciting driver line-up. For many months, the team have put a tremendous amount of effort into the FW41 and I’m eager to see both Lance and Sergey take to the track later this month.
“Lance produced some impressive performances last year in what was a remarkably strong debut season, where he only just lost out to Felipe in the standings. His podium finish was the only one outside of the top three teams, and we aim to build on that this season. It’s also my pleasure to welcome Sergey and Robert to Williams, who have both displayed exceptional speed and qualities that I know will only strengthen the team. Sergey has impressed the technical team and it is great for us to be able to give him the opportunity to step up into a race seat. Robert, will also be working closely with the team, utilising his experience to help develop the car throughout the season.”
— Rachel Brookes (@RachelBrookesTV) February 15, 2018
The FW41 is already dividing opinion on social media. Some fans were pleased with the look of the car, describing it as “an aggressive looking concept”, “a good-looking machine” and “very pretty”. However, some have questioned the increased use of black on the sidepods, the similarities to last year’s Ferrari and the overall look of the Halo. While some are unhappy with the extra black, others think the livery is too similar to last year’s.
The car will be driven by Lance Stroll and rookie Sergey Sirotkin, while Robert Kubica joins the team as test and reserve driver. At the launch, Williams confirmed the Polish driver will take part in practice sessions at Spain, Austria and one other race.
Stroll, who will be heading into his second season in F1, said: “Ahead of every new season there is a lot of anticipation and unanswered questions and this makes it even more exciting. With a season under my belt with the team, I can’t wait to get back on track and see what the new car is like. Until we are on track we will not know what the competition has been doing, but I am very excited and optimistic about the car the team has built. Last year was a steep learning curve for me and now I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.”
Sirotkin added: “I feel really excited ahead of the season. I’ve spent a lot of time at the factory, I’m almost living there at the moment which has been great motivation for me and for all of the people around the factory. It’s been a big enjoyment to start working properly with all the mechanics and engineers, and it’s going well. I’ve been training hard and I’ve been in the simulator regularly, going through different set-ups with the car, different tracks, seat fittings and also a lot of engineering meetings and factory tours to meet everyone. I’ve been having fun with all the guys from different departments. It’s busy times, but I am really enjoying it. I’m getting ready for the season in the best possible way.”
The FW41 will be on track for the first time next Monday at the first day of testing in Barcelona.