Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head attend the launch of Williams JPH1
The Williams JPH1 was formally unveiled today (2 March) by MotorSport Vision's Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer at Brands Hatch, England.
As Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head looked on, the car was revealed to hundreds of invited media, guests and F2 drivers. The car was rolled out in glorious sunshine at the Kent track before taking to the Indy circuit for several high speed laps at the hands of British Touring Car racer and F2 test driver Steven Kane.
Sir Frank discussed the car with Jonathan Palmer during an F2 press conference after watching the demonstration laps: "I think with 450bhp the car will need respect as well as skill," said Williams. "People will now be looking at two streams into F1 with F2 as well as GP2."
Patrick Head recalled Palmer's initial request to design a cost effective yet high-speed sophisticated single seater car: "It was quite an engineering challenge to design a simple car with good performance," said Head. "We didn't want the car to be too complex, not too expensive, but to still produce quite a lot of downforce. The car looks nice and I am sure it will be a good car for the championship."
British Touring Car frontrunner and former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Steven Kane had the honour of piloting the F2 car during its first official laps. He later described the car as "second to none."
"For me, the car has exceeded expectations straight out of the box," Kane enthused. "I've driven in Formula Renault 3.5, and tested GP2 and F1, and I can say that the quality of the F2 car is second to none."
The F2 event at Brands Hatch attracted a number of its 2009 drivers from all around the world, including Andy Soucek, Julien Jousse, Armaan Ebrahim and Natacha Gachnang. There was also a strong UK contingent, with Jolyon Palmer, Henry Surtees, Alex Brundle, Jack Clarke and Jason Moore all attending. They were joined by Italians Nicola De Marco and Pietro Gandolfi, Germany's Tobias Hegewald and Austria's Philipp Eng, Kazim Vasiliaskas - the first Lithuanian to ever race in international single seater racing - Henri Karjalainen and Spanish F3 champion German Sanchez.
Jonathan Palmer said: "The car looks and sounds fantastic and Williams have done a great job. I don't think any other championship can boast the same demand from drivers as we've had in such a short space of time, particularly in its first year. To have all 24 slots filled so quickly is excellent and F2 will give all these drivers the chance to prove their skill against each other on a level playing field. And help them towards their aim of racing in Formula One."