Williams unveils its 2018 F1 car, the FW41
Williams has become the second team to unveil its 2018 Formula 1 challenger after taking the wraps off its new car, the FW41, during an event in London on Thursday evening.
The FW41 marks a departure from its predecessor, the FW40, following input from Paddy Lowe and aero chief Dirk de Beer, who both arrived early last year, joining forces with designer Ed Wood.
Williams will field this year’s youngest driver pairing, with Lance Stroll joined by former Sauber and Renault tester Sergey Sirotkin, in place of the retired Felipe Massa.
Robert Kubica, meanwhile, has taken up the role of reserve and development driver, and is set for Friday practice runs and test outings in the FW41.
“I am thrilled to be back and launching our new car, for a new season, with a new, exciting driver line-up,” said Claire Williams, deputy team boss.
“For many months, the team have put a tremendous amount of effort into the FW41 and I’m eager to see both Lance and Sergey take to the track later this month.
“Lance produced some impressive performances last year in what was a remarkably strong debut season, where he only just lost out to Felipe in the standings. His podium finish was the only one outside of the top three teams, and we aim to build on that this season.
“It’s also my pleasure to welcome Sergey and Robert to Williams, who have both displayed exceptional speed and qualities that I know will only strengthen the team.
“Sergey has impressed the technical team and it is great for us to be able to give him the opportunity to step up into a race seat.
“Robert, will also be working closely with the team, utilising his experience to help develop the car throughout the season.”
Williams secured back-to-back third places in the championship during the opening two years of Formula 1’s hybrid era, profiting from its use of a Mercedes engine, before slipping to fifth in 2016.
Williams repeated the position in 2017, with rivals Force India having stretched clear, though held a comfortable buffer back to the battle between Renault, Toro Rosso and Haas.
Stroll, 19, endured a mixed rookie campaign, which peaked with a podium finish in Azerbaijan, having also captured a front-row grid spot in the wet in Italy.
Sirotkin, meanwhile, finished third in GP2 across 2015/16 and conducted practice and test runs for Renault in 2017, before being picked up by Williams after an eye-catching showing in Abu Dhabi tyre testing.
Reserve driver Kubica began preparations for a comeback attempt early in 2017 and tested for Renault, later switching focus towards Williams, which ultimately favoured Sirotkin for a race seat.
The FW41 features a slightly tweaked livery compared to recent years, with additional black elements, while Williams has painted the halo 'white', blending the head protection device with the rest of the scheme.