Williams upheld their recent tradition on Friday, beating their opposition to the pre-season headlines by releasing some teasing renders of their new challenger. The digital version of the FW40 is the first glimpse we have had into the future of the sport, with the new technical regulations sparking significant aesthetic and performance changes.
However, a brief glance at social media since would highlight that some are underwhelmed by the first look at F1’s future.
Fear not, ladies and gentlemen. Here are five reasons to love the FW40 render…
1) It’s still got the iconic livery
You often remember where you were when something historically significant happens. For instance, I’ll never forget the moment I found out that Nico Rosberg had hung up his racing boots. The moment Williams revived the iconic Martini livery was another of these occasions.
It’s true that since 2014, Williams have copy and pasted exactly the same design to each of their cars. Innovation would be welcomed in some quarters, but why change a design which is clearly popular with sponsors and still looks sleek today?
There is a reason why me and my good friend Scott – otherwise known by the internet alias of PrototypBudgiE – stood open-mouthed in awe when Williams launched their FW37 in 2014. The livery is striking and at a time when fans are critical of F1’s obsession with bland paint schemes. For me, it still has the appeal it had in 2014.
2) “Full Fat F1” is back!
While it is difficult to measure scale in what is ultimately a graphic design, the FW40 is evidently a shoe-size up from it’s predecessor. Bigger rear tyres were cited as one of 2017’s most inspiring changes, providing a throwback to the ever-popular aesthetic of the 1980’s.
Ludicrous rear tyres also provide more mechanical grip, making the enhancement of F1’s speeds all the more easy to achieve. In short, the bigger contact patch means that drivers should be able to push for longer during the stint, as tyres will be less prone to overheating.
Whether increased stint length and tyre durability is a good thing or not is in the eye of the beholder. Any frequent readers will be well aware of my seemingly unpopular opinion on the matter. At least the
At least the tyres look spectacular.
3) Rear wings are back in style
The mammoth rear tyres are a great asset to the 2017 aesthetic, but it is the rear wing which is surely one of the most beautiful changes. F1 has finally reverted back to the low-slung, aggressive-looking rear wings that have been absent since the regulation overhaul prior to 2009.
It will be fascinating to see how the new designs look in reality. Again, I have a suspicion that the graphic fails to do the change justice. It promises to be a vast improvement.
4) Williams are the kings of the early release
As is to be anticipated, a regulation change is a fantastic means by which to engage fans and the media in the spectacle of launch week. The removal of the dust covers throughout next week are about to reveal what the future of the sport is going to look like.
Williams’ FW40 render has provided us with an early glimpse into that future. It’s a brilliant teaser for the week ahead and unquestionably provided an excellent platform for the sponsors, which in turn is of benefit to the team. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Williams have now pulled the same trick for three consecutive years.
5) This is just the start
A catalyst for much of the initial disappointment is surely the fact that some fans have lost sight of one of 2017’s major plot points. The development race is going to be fierce. The cars released in March are set to undergo major modification all year long and the machines lapping Barcelona in a weeks time are simply going to be the base model. Not so optional extras will be in the pipeline already.
These FW40 images are clearly a stripped back version of the car that will be taking to the track. Many technical analysts were quick to notice the absent details, such as missing bargeboard winglets. This is almost certainly a render built early in the design process. One that offers little in the way of secrets that can be gobbled up by rivals.
After all, this is a sport that has seen teams arrive at a test venue with a “camouflage” livery. You cannot afford to give the opposition too many clues.
Be sure to revisit Prime and Option during this week. “Launch Week” feature pieces will be published every day from Monday until testing commences on Monday 27th February.