Williams Mercedes FW37 2

Williams has gotten the jump on its rivals for the upcoming 2015 Formula 1 season, at least in terms of unveiling the cars – the new Williams Mercedes FW37, decked out as with last year in gorgeous Martini livery, made the cover of the latest issue of F1 Racing magazine. Slotting into the driver’s seat are the same pilots as last year – Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

It was a great season for the Grove-based outfit in 2014 – a timely switch to Mercedes-Benz’s dominant power units and a competitive car saw Williams score nine podium finishes last year, climbing from ninth place in the 2013 constructor’s championship to third place behind Mercedes and Red Bull, beating out Ferrari. The team will no doubt hope to capitalise on the positive momentum for this year.

“The notion for the FW37 was to look closely at the FW36 and its performances,” said chief technical officer Pat Symonds. “We then went about recognising what had worked well and identifying and resolving the areas that we felt needed to be improved. Although the aerodynamics of the car were impressive there is always room for improvement particularly as we handle the new 2015 nose regulations”

The development of the FW37 began even before the FW36 was fired up, as the team sought to understand the 2015 rule changes and how they would impact the design and performance of the car, as well as to see if its ideas for the new car fitted within the regulations.

Williams’ crusade to beat Ferrari to third place last year led it to continually improve the FW36 all the way to late autumn, but the current size of the team allowed both this development and the progress of the FW37 to continue. The relative stability of the rules from 2014 meant that the team could develop on the FW36 with the focus on the changes necessary for the 2015 season.

“We felt we came up against design barriers in the FW36 and so took the opportunity to remove those barriers for the benefit of the performance,” added Symonds. “The FW36 carried a reasonable amount of ballast, so we were able to make alterations to the design for added performance without the fear of adding excessive mass.”

The team completed the layout phase by the sport’s August summer break, with emphasis placed by the designers and aerodymanicists on the new front bulkhead to cope with the effects the new regulations placed on the car.

“The change in regulations offered us a slight headache,” said Symonds. “The new front bulkhead and nose geometry had much more of an impact than we had initially anticipated and the effect on the aero was profound. The team have worked hard on pulling back the deficit these regulations have made for us.

“The more rule stability there is, the closer the field gets. I hope as a team we are more capable of maintaining the forward momentum to catch Mercedes, than the teams behind us are of catching us.”

“The team had a fantastic season last year, we are aiming to replicate this development over the winter and to start the 2015 season in a strong position,” said team principal Frank Williams. “I feel this year will be equally as exciting as the last and look forward to seeing the car on the grid at the first race.”