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The Williams F1 Team’s FW36

The Williams FW36

The Williams F1 team revealed the first images of their 2014 contender, the FW36 on Thursday via its website and Twitter.

The images released are a digital rendering of the car which is shown in an interim all-navy blue livery. The released images were met with much skepticism and criticism from fans on the social networks – specifically around the narrow nose which features on the FW36. The nose is far narrower and has even been reported to resemble that of an anteater but is necessary according to the team to meet FIA regulations while allowing for as much airflow as possible under the car. Most teams are expected to adopt similar solutions to meet the 2014 regulations.

According to the team, the FW36 is one of the “most technologically advanced Formula One cars produced by Williams” and is the culmination of more than two years’ research and development by the team’s technical departments. It is also incorporates the power unit from the team’s new partner, Mercedes-Benz.

The Williams FW36The FW36 will be the first Williams powered by a Mercedes engine, with the all new V6 turbo and Energy Recovery Systems. “This is the first time that Williams has worked with Mercedes in F1 and we’ve been very impressed,” says Williams Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds. “Their professionalism and commitment have been notable and we’re as confident as we can be that the power unit will be competitive.”
“There’s a lot more technology on the cars this year,” he continued. “We’ve had turbo-charged engines in F1 before; what’s different this time is that it is much more than just an engine change, it is a completely different system. We’ve gone from a slightly hybridised normally aspirated engine to a fully integrated hybrid power unit with novel technology at its heart.

“Overall the cars will need more cooling this year. The demands on water and oil cooling may be slightly diminished, but the ERS system is significantly more powerful and hence needs more cooling. We also have to cool the charge air from the turbocharger compressor which requires a substantial intercooler.”

According to the team, the FW36’s gearbox ran on the dyno for the first time at the beginning of November, before running with the full power unit several weeks later. It’s also the first eight-speed gearbox in Williams’ history.

Symonds explained, “We finished the gearbox relatively early. It’s completed a lot of running on the test rig and at Mercedes HPP in Brixworth, but you can’t take reliability for granted. It’s a completely new ‘box and it has to cope with a lot more torque than was the case with the V8.”

The Williams FW36The team also explained on their website that the weight of the car, when combined with the FIA’s ever more stringent crash tests, has been another big challenge  for them. But they’re proud of the fact that the FW36 was one of the first cars to pass its crash tests prior to Christmas.
“The build of the new car has gone remarkably smoothly,” said Symonds. “But it’s been a challenge to get the car down to the weight limit. It’s been achievable, but it hasn’t been easy because the new power unit is heavier than the outgoing V8.”
Most fans will be waiting to see the aerodynamic impact of the changes made on the FW36 which we’ll only get to see at testing next week but Symonds is confident that the team have made great strides forward and are closer to competing with the cars up front. “I’m confident that we’ll be closer to the front aerodynamically than we were last year,” he said. “Our ambition for the year ahead is to have a strong 2014 season.”

About Adele Groenendaal

Some say she's Murray Walker's illegitimate offspring. Others say she was a right wheel-gunner for the Lotus F1 team. All we know is Adele has high octane fuel running through her veins and Formula One is her passion. Follow Adele on Twitter @aprilrain500

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