Williams has been the first team to unveil the first images (this is a rendering by the computer) of your Williams FW40, a car that coincides with the 40th anniversary of the team and therefore its name. Engineers Grove have opted for a design is fairly conventional, and continuity with respect to the design they had in the last season with the FW38. However, there is no doubt that under the hood will have a power unit of Mercedes that will arrive around the 1000CV power and fairly efficient.
In terms of the engine, we can not say too much, because we don’t know that you have done in Mercedes. It is assumed that it will be the most powerful engine of the grill, and that with the advantage they had the past year, will serve to keep leaders this year. But Renault, Ferrari and Honda will not remain of arms crossed, and keep in mind that it has raised the absurd rules of the tokens, therefore this year the evolution of the motor is free and may progress substantially during the season without the limitations of the chips. It is estimated that the difference between bikers could go down to less than 2%, therefore expected more equality.
As I stated in the first paragraph, the imagery, as often do some teams, there are more than a rendering done by computer. So the car that will come to Barcelona or to start in the GP of Australia may be slightly different. However, with them we can get an idea of what is going to be the design of the FW40 in which the engineers have already been working for months, and that will continue with the hard work after you have passed the crash-test a few weeks ago.
When step on the Barcelona circuit will begin to test the new design and get the first actual data, at which time you will know if your concept is suitable or if you must begin to think in a design B to correct some serious errors. The feedback obtained from the test is vital, and it depends on the roadmap they will follow the engineers to the development during the season. There are that say, that some mistakes cannot be corrected, especially those that affect the structure of the monocoque or the size of certain parts of the power unit or the gearbox. In case you have erred in this sense, will have to wait to next season to correct it and drag it to 2017 with those bad decisions…
In this front image we can see the first changes that we leave to the new rules, as are the wider tires that have gone from the 245mm in the front to the 305mm wide. To the rear has increased from 325mm to 405mm. Another important detail is the front wing, which has widened from 165mm to 180mm, however, the design remains very much of a continuation with respect to last year. The snout is a little longer, but still has the nose typical that we saw in the last year to leave more space under the nose for air to pass by the rear area after the statement of the FIA which prohibited the headlands high.
Is also seen in the nose of a S-Duct, that will help aerodynamically the car, and we have also seen a few aletines type canards in the nose, just in front of the pontoons. The axles are also wider, the width has grown from 1.8 m to 2m, giving rise to cars wider and with more drag (aerodynamic resistance), but also with more downforce, allowing a step-by curve faster. In fact, the engines of this year you will have to invest more power to fight with this drag extra. Despite this, it is estimated that the new cars are around the 5 seconds faster per lap, and even more when you get to the end of the season.
The fall of the morro is pretty progressive, and the media have grown to hold the new and larger front chin spoiler, that it becomes slightly arched (delta), and hence that the snout is a little longer to leave enough space between the planes of the wing and the wheel. The area of the sidepods or pontoons also supports that widen the cars in that area, as last year only it supported a size of 1.40 m, while that in 2017 you can play more with this area, giving freedom to designers to make pontoons from the 1.40 m minimum of 1.60 maximum, and may delay some 15 ° of angle. Williams has opted not to widen too this area to not add more drag.
What if it has been modified have been the airfoils that are located in this area, we see a bargeboard much larger as expected. And what if it has been done with the air intakes of the pontoons is estilizarlas, making them a little more elongated and smaller (in time of the design more rounded in the past year) and has left more space for the area down to channel air towards the rear area. The smaller may be the reason that we see an entry of the airbox much larger, making that part of the air that enters there not only go for the compressor of the turbo to the intake of the engine, but also let other channels to feed radiators oil gearbox, intercooler, etc
As I have already repeated, a car is conservative, in fact some areas like the brake ducts or the geometry of the suspensions has not changed almost (we appreciate some changes, such as arms more flat in the shape of wings to channel the air that goes into the sidepods). And following with the changes that are seen in the rear area, to say that, as they always do in presentations obscure or darken the diffuser, since it is one of the areas most jealously guarded by the engineers. The generates around 40% of the lift and without adding drag as happens with the wings front and rear, for what is “the goose that lays the golden eggs”. It is accompanied with a rear area of the body very small to let through fluxes of high-speed that will help to extract air from the diffuser.
however, we know that this year they grow on the height of the channel, 125mm, 2016 to 175mm. And is not the only radical change that we see in the rear area, because they return the shark fins to improve the flow towards the rear wing. Without forgetting that rear spoiler low height of 950mm to the 800mm, but it grows in width from 750mm to 950mm. Williams has a built-in rear wing curve, as we have seen in other cars. And, of course, have built-in flow conditioners and grooves in the endplates, as the FIA supports a thickness of this zone increased with the power play to generate grooves. And following with the endplates, the Grove has played with the flows that arrive to this area, opening it up and curvándolos in the area, the higher and narrower in the area that is contiguous with the diffuser.
In short, failing to see the other designs, I have not found a car with changes as radical as I expected. Maybe the other teams also submitted very different, but I trust that will show us something more innovative. Claire Williams has already said that they will fight for not be 5th, behind Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari, and apparently seen, I don’t trust you to do podiums this year in spite of the mechanics, to not be presenting solutions that are more robust in the test or at the beginning of the season… The changes at Williams and the departure of Pat Symons does not seem to have helped the team, even though they have rearmed with new staff, the changes are not imminent and you have to allow time to see changes. I wish them the best, since they are already in F1 history, but I have not seen solutions too eye-catching… And to that add that they have a rookie pilot, along with Massa, who said last year, discouraged and that it has been called almost crying out for your help in the march unexpected of Bottas.