Williams has unveiled the first images of its new Mercedes-powered FW36, giving us the first ‘official’ look at what noses will look like in 2014.
“This is the first time that Williams has worked with Mercedes in F1 and we’ve been very impressed,” said chief technical officer Pat Symonds. “Their professionalism and commitment have been notable and we’re as confident as we can be that the power unit will be competitive.
“Overall the cars will need more cooling this year. The demands on water and oil cooling may be slightly diminished, but the ERS system is significantly more powerful and hence needs more cooling. We also have to cool the charge air from the turbocharger compressor which requires a substantial intercooler.
“The build of the new car has gone remarkably smoothly. But it’s been a challenge to get the car down to the weight limit. It’s been achievable, but it hasn’t been easy because the new power unit is heavier than the outgoing V8.”
The team says that the new gearbox ran on the dyno at the beginning of November, before running with the full power unit several weeks later.
“We finished the gearbox relatively early. It’s completed a lot of running on the test rig and at Mercedes HPP in Brixworth, but you can’t take reliability for granted. It’s a completely new ‘box and it has to cope with a lot more torque than was the case with the V8.”
The team confirmed that what we will see in testing is a launch spec aero package, with a revised one due for the first race. Most teams are likely to follow a similar path.
“F1 is still going to be an aerodynamic formula in 2014. There are some significant changes: the nose is lower than last year and the front wing is narrower, which means the end plates are now more shrouded by the front tyre. The rear wing isn’t as deep as last year and the beam wing below it is no longer permitted, and we’ve also lost the ability to use the exhaust to enhance aero performance.”