Williams FW36 Unveiling

The first of several articles this evening is an analysis of yesterday’s main event – The online reveal of the FW36, which answered many of the questions still remaining after Force India’s canny launch. The FW36 features the anticipated nose structure, in compliance with the lower chassis height requirements this season, which seems to have been dubbed the ‘anteater nose,’ . Meanwhile, the images show a rather peculiar rear wing structure which is certainly not what was expected.

The Williams FW36, featuring the aesthetically questionable ‘anteater’ nose.
(c) Williams F1 Team

Right On The Nose

When the new technical regulations were announced, acclaimed Technical Directors such as Adrain Newey and James Allison warned the FIA that without modesty allowances, the new front wings would negatively impact on the aesthetic look of the new cars. Following the step nose fiasco in 2012, the FIA took a stand against the issue and allowed modesty panels to be fitted for the 2013 season, in order to conceal the unsightly elevation change. Consequently, the engineers were confident of modesty measures to be taken, however, they never came. The ‘anteater’ nose is the result and it is even more poignant on the MP4-29, which was launched today, (article coming up later.)
It is expected that the VJM07 features a similar aero package, yet we cannot be sure of this, due to the limitations of the side view – a canny tactic from Force India who look to conceal their secrets. 
Meanwhile, one feature of the FW36 in particular stands out, as the team have not opted to replace the lower beam wing with a pillar to support the rear wing. Obviously, Williams have analysed the possibility, yet we have to assume that they decided that pillar’s were unnecessary, although without them, it was expected that the rear wing would have insufficient support. Evidently, the predictions were wrong, but it will be interesting to see what the other teams decide upon. In addition, the single exit exhaust has also been a point of particular interest. Williams have placed the infamous ‘monkey seat’ underneath the exhaust. Could this be the secret to the seemingly non-existent rear wing support? 
In fact, most of the intrigue regarding the new car can be found at the rear.

Can Mercedes Power Williams To Success?

The FW36 will use a Mercedes powertrain, billed to be the best powertrain available in 2014. This is yet to be seen, however, it should be a strong partnership. “This is the first time that Williams has worked with Mercedes in F1 and we’ve been very impressed,” stated the Williams Technical Director Pat Symonds. The partnership with Mercedes is just one of many factors which has convinced many analysts that Williams could be a stronger force this season. Progress from a dire 2013 campaign in an essential, yet it is highly likely that the team could find themselves amongst Formula One’s front runners, (or certainly back to the front of the midfield at least. The signing of Pat Symonds should not be underestimated, especially in such a transitional season. Pat is an experienced head, who has endured significant rule changes, before both the 1994 season (when he guided Michael Schumacher to his maiden title at Benetton) and  2009.
Moreover, Felipe Massa’s guidance regarding the development of the car will make him an integral part of the team. Feedback will be crucial this season and it could be argued that this is why teams like Caterham and Toro Rosso have been less inclined to take on two rookie drivers.
 
Similarly to the Force India, we will gain a better understanding of how the technical changes will work following the first test in Jerez. With teams heading in different development directions and getting different wind-tunnel results, it could be a very interesting first test.

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