WILLIAMS have revealed their 2018 car, describing the FW41 as ‘significantly different’ to its predecessor.
The car is the first which can be credited to Paddy Lowe, Williams’ chief technical officer, and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer after they both moved to Grove at the start of 2017.
Williams finished fifth in the Constructors’ Championship in 2017 but with fewer than half the points of the fourth-placed Force India outfit.
The FW41 will be driven by Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin after the team appointed the Russian to replace Felipe Massa following the Brazilian’s retirement.
Robert Kubica will be Williams’ reserve and development driver with the Pole scheduled to appear in three practice sessions throughout the season as well as pre-season testing.
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Stroll and Sirotkin will comprise the new season’s youngest driver line-up and their pairing has already provoked plenty of debate – not least because rookie Sirotkin reputedly brings as much as $15m in sponsorship money to the team.
As recently as 2015, Williams finished third in the Constructors’ Championship with a driver line-up of Massa and Valtteri Bottas.
At the team’s season launch in London, when the FW41 was revealed via a digital video, Claire Williams launched a staunch defence of the their driver selection – insisting financial considerations would never wholly dictate the team’s decisions.
Lowe, a former title winner at Mercedes and McLaren, said the appointment of Sirotkin came at the end of the “most exhaustive” driver selection policy he had experienced in his career.
But despite the inexperienced nature of their driver line-up, the team remain optimistic they will be competitive in 2018, despite expectations that both Renault and McLaren could leapfrog Williams to challenge the top order over the next 10 months.