Williams FW41

Williams target big step with FW41 to cut two-second deficit

2018 F1 season

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Williams has targeted a big reduction in its gap to F1’s front-runners with its new FW41.

Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe said the team is “trying to achieve an element of step change” when the first images of the car were presented to the media at a launch event in London.

“We were two seconds or so a lap slower than the front runners last year and that’s something we’d like to close up considerably,” he said. “So we were looking for a step change and I hope we’ve delivered a strong element of that with this car.”

The FW41 features a more radical bargeboard treatment as the team follows the lead set by rivals such as Ferrari when the technical regulations were shaken up last year.

“As we know the 2017 regulations gave new freedom in the bargeboard area and we saw in 2017 an explosion of new devices in that space,” Lowe explained.

“That process has continued yet further. When you see the car close-up you’ll see we’ve developed that area even more. I’ll be expecting to see the same on our competition. It’s the biggest area of opportunity still not fully exploited with these new regulations that came in last year.”

Regulations changes have had an effect on the team’s design of the external aerodynamic surfaces towards the rear of the car.

“The T-wing is illegal but you see we still have what we call the gearbox wing,” said Lowe. “We were the first to fit that last year on our car. It’s like a lower T-wing so we will carry on with that and I imagine many of the other cars will feature such a wing now in this space.”

“Still in a similar area we’ve lost what was called the ‘monkey seat’ wing. That was made illegal interestingly because you will remember the big era of exhaust-blowing we had 2010, 2011, [2012] – which was an exciting period actually on the car – interestingly it emerged again in 2017 as a new capability so the monkey seat wing has been banned in order to reduce that effect again for next year.”

2018 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 12 comments on “Williams target big step with FW41 to cut two-second deficit”

    1. Why is the fin still there?
      The engine cover is so curvaceous it’s a shame to stick it in there. Looks like a shark fin on a serene blue whale

      1. You’re right, they should have banned the engine cover fin completely.

      2. I think the fin is still there because the rules define the minimum sideprofile of the car. Because the teams can build the top rear portion of the car to be much smaller than the rules define the teams the use the shark fins to fulfill the minimum sife profile requirement. See: https://www.fia.com/regulation/category/110 page 19

    2. Williams target big step with FW41 to cut two-second deficit

      …..So Stroll will now go as fast as Massa last year?

      1. I sure hope he’s been doing his homework, Williams definitely need an improved performance.

      2. Yes. I can’t be sure, but since Stroll and Sirotkin need to gain 2 seconds upon last year’s performance, that means lots and lots of practice, e.g. drivers doing 10 hours of practice each day, Monday to Friday, plus 4 hours of practice on Saturday. Every week from the start of December through to the first race in Melbourne.

    3. I can’t believe after all the fuss they made about shark fins and T wings, they are both still there! They’re just scaled down. I don’t understand how the FIA could have got this wrong. Millions of pages of regulations yet they can’t sort this

      1. LOL! At least the FIA isn’t in the mail delivery business – they’d have trouble sorting a single envelope addressed to themselves.

      2. Yeah and still can`t believe how FIA cannot figure out the regulations for the nose cones 5 years!!!
        Please FIA, make this thumb noses disappear!

      3. The shark fin lookes nice but the T-wing is hideous.

      4. @strontium Since I always try to default to F1 and FIA people being pretty smart and pretty professional, once you remove all the negative armchair fan rhetoric that is, I would suggest that the reason the fins are just reduced and the t bars are gone but for a much smaller lower gearbox wing according to Lowe, is that going by what Brawn has talked about they don’t want to make knee-jerk decisions that will only continue to help the bigger teams who have the resources to adapt more quickly, and harm the lesser teams that cannot. Just a speculation on my part of course, and I do wonder if next year both will be gone.

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