Oxford, UK. The AT&T Williams team's 2008 season race car, the Williams Toyota FW30, took to the track at the Valencia circuit in Southern Spain this morning for a shakedown prior to starting its winter testing in earnest tomorrow.
The team's newly recruited test driver, Nico Hulkenberg, is taking on the responsibility of shaking down the new race car before regular race driver, Nico Rosberg and his team-mate, Kazuki Nakajima, share first assessments of the car from tomorrow onwards.
The car represents a clear engineering philosophy of iteration and progressive development from the competitive and reliable platform of last season's FW29. The team's Technical Director, Sam Michael explains, "With four years of regulation stability, we have a good basis to be progressive about the development of this season's car. With a good reliability record last year, we have been able to build on this quality while also turning some of our attention to clear performance objectives."
With an established technical team, the car is the product of a stable engineering base as well as settled regulations and for the first time since 2004, continuity of engine supplier with Toyota meaning that drivetrain installation has not been a resource-demanding aspect of the design process. With 8,000 mechanical releases and 35,000 manhours of design time, it is remarkable to consider that much of this work will be rendered obsolete in the next eight to twelve months.
The car retains the general structural and layout philosophy of its forebear, featuring a zero keel and dual pillar rear wing, with notable visual changes including a three plane front wing, increased sidepod top cooling louvres in view of the altered orientation of the water radiators, the sidepod and side impact sails and the increased cockpit sides for compliance with the new driver safety requirements.
"Our focus has been on performance as well as refining our packaging and weight distribution. We are designing a tidier car with a higher standard of build quality. The FW30 should represent a good step forward when all of the many small areas of attention and improvement are brought together in the overall package," said Michael.
Prior to the roll-out of the FW30, the team has also spent considerable time and made good headway in attending to a number of the other regulation changes, such as the integration of a standard ECU and the outlawing of traction control. As much as a busy winter for mechanical designers and CFD aerodynamicists, specialist code and software engineers have been busy re-writing strategies that will govern the management of the car's main components, from the new seamless shift gearbox to the differentials and engine.
The FW30 is also biofuel compliant in order to meet the new season requirement that all race fuels contain 5.75% biomatter. Having worked in tandem with its fuel partner, Petrobras, the team was the first to use biofuel as part of a Formula One demonstration run in downtown Rio de Janeiro last October.
For its roll-out, the FW30 is liveried in the second of a campaign series of six designs celebrating Williams' thirty years in Formula One. Reflecting the collegiate nature of Formula One, which requires a wide variety of technical and financial contributors, a committed and skilled workforce and the essential support of the viewing public, this week's design communicates Williams' thanks to its staff and its fans.
Every name of the current 519-member Williams workforce will be carried on the FW30-01 this week, and the company also thanks the 85 brands whose sponsorship identities have graced Williams race car liveries since January 15, 1978, when the Williams FW06 took to the track for the Argentine Grand Prix in the hands of Alan Jones. These sponsorship revenues have supported Williams' purity of purpose as an independent racing organisation and the company is indebted to these commercial partners, past and present. The livery also reflects the team's wish to thank the public at large for three decades of support and goodwill which has seen Williams develop a pre-eminent international sporting reputation.
The FW30 will be tested by Nico Rosberg on Tuesday and Wednesday with Kazuki Nakajima taking the wheel for the last day of the test. Next week, for the first test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, the team will unveil the next in a series of livery messages prior to the team's 2008 season racing colours being revealed for the Australian Grand Prix on March 16.
FW30 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
Monocoque construction fabricated from carbon aramid epoxy and honeycomb composite structure, surpassing FIA impact and strength requirements
Carbon fibre double wishbone arrangement, with composite toelink and pushrod activated torsion springs
Double wishbone and pushrod activated torsion springs and rockers
WilliamsF1 seven speed seamless sequential semi-automatic shift plus reverse gear in a aluminium maincase, gear selection electro-hydraulically actuated
AP Carbon plate
RAYS forged magnesium
Bridgestone Potenza, F 350mm wide, R 375mm wide
6 piston AP calipers all round, Carbon Industrie carbon discs and pads
WilliamsF1 power assisted rack and pinion
ATL Kevlar-reinforced rubber bladder
Fuel by Petrobras
Marston oil, water, and gearbox radiators
Driver six point safety harness with 75mm shoulder straps & HANS system, removable anatomically formed carbon fibre seat covered in Alcantara. Safety Devices extinguisher systems
Toyota 2.4L V8, 900 V angle, pneumatic valve train. Fuel management and ignition systems by Toyota spark plugs by ND. Engine materials include block and pistons in aluminium, crankshaft in steel billet, connecting rods in titanium
Dimensions & weight
Weight: 605kg with driver, camera and ballast
Overall length: 4500mm