Williams unveiled their new car, the FW33, this morning in Valencia, just moments before pre-season testing for the upcoming 2011 Formula 1 season began.
Technical director Sam Michael is evidently proud of the 2011 challenger but, as he points out, its true competitiveness will only begin to be realised in the test sessions.
“Until you start testing,” he said, “you're never sure how you're going to stack up against the opposition, but we're optimistic. We think this is a good car, but we'll have a better overall picture in a few weeks time.”
Adapting to the new regulations for the coming season, the FW33 does not feature a double diffuser or an F-duct, and so the aerodynamics have been required to recover the lost downforce in other areas. KERS has been incorporated into the new design and the tyres from new supplier Pirelli had to be taken into consideration.
“The design of this year's car has been pretty smooth,” continues Michael. “We've improved our way of working by increasing the communication between the mechanical and aerodynamic departments, and that improved our decision making processes. It allowed us to increase the optimisation time spent on each part of the car.”
The car that will run today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia is only the first iteration of the FW33. There will be an aero upgrade on the car by the time it reaches the first race of the season in Bahrain and, of course, will continue to be developed throughout the season.