With rivals Toyota gone and big changes at Renault and Sauber, Williams should at least be at the front of the midfield pack in 2010.
But can they raise their game and finally get back among the front runners this year?
While other teams have talked about their cars being an evolution of last year?óÔé¼Ôäós model, Williams say the FW32 is a clean sheet design intended to make a big step forward from last year?óÔé¼Ôäós car.
Despite some reliability problems the new Williams covered more ground in testing than any other team bar Ferrari.
As with the other teams, it?óÔé¼Ôäós hard to gauge from testing just how quick Williams are. New driver Nico H?â??lkenberg topped the testing times on his final day in the car, but that was on a low fuel run.
How successful it is will partly be determined by how powerful and reliable the Cosworth V8 is. Williams are returning to Cosworth power after three years using Toyota engines.
Although Williams have lost the services of the promising Nico Rosberg, the conclusion of their Toyota deal means that Kazuki Nakajima is no longer in the other car. One driver scoring zero points while the other gets 34.5 was never going to be the best way of going racing.
In their place Williams have combined the most experienced F1 driver of all time – Rubens Barrichello – with the driver who stands out as the most promising of 2010?óÔé¼Ôäós rookies.
H?â??lkenberg arrives in F1 off the back of championship victories in GP2 and F3 Euroseries in successive seasons. The last driver to manage that was Lewis Hamilton.
He?óÔé¼Ôäós been with Williams in a junior capacity for a couple of seasons and got about as much mileage in the car as a reserve driver can these days.
It may take a while for the new driver pairing to gel, but there?óÔé¼Ôäós a lot to like about the Williams duo.
Barrichello tended to trail Jenson Button on race day last year but he had some very strong race performances and usually qualified well. H?â??lkenberg showed impressive speed, tyre sensitivity and maturity on his way to the GP2 title last year.
Williams have not been able to spend as much as the bigger teams in recent years and although that hasn?óÔé¼Ôäót changed for 2010 the Resource Restriction Agreement may help keep the others in reach.
There will inevitably be reliability worries with a substantially new design and that seems to have been borne out in testing.
The Cosworth engine is an unknown quantity ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ it may prove powerful, frugal and completely reliable, but if it?óÔé¼Ôäós significantly behind in any one of those areas the team could have a problem.
Poll: championship position
What?óÔé¼Ôäós your prediction for where Williams will finish in the 2010 F1 season? Cast your vote below.
Where will Williams finish in the 2010 Constructors' Championship?
- 5th (41%)
- 6th (24%)
- 4th (14%)
- 7th (8%)
- 3rd (4%)
- 8th (3%)
- 1st (2%)
- 2nd (2%)
- 9th (1%)
- 10th (1%)
- 13th (0%)
- 11th (0%)
- 12th (0%)
Total Voters: 1,932
See all the articles in the F1 Fanatic 2010 Season Preview
2010 F1 season