AT&T Williams launched its new race car, the Williams-Toyota FW29, for the 2007 season Formula One World Championship at the team's headquarters near Oxford today.
In addition to unveiling the team's new race car, livery and racing identity with its new title partner AT&T, the team also confirmed a major new sponsorship agreement with Lenovo, a global leader in the international PC market. This announcement consolidates a strong winter of sponsorship activity for the team.
Reflecting on all elements of the day's announcements, Team Principal Frank Williams said, "Without question, 2006 was not our finest year but I am delighted to see how the entire Williams workforce has pulled together and redoubled its efforts over the winter. It is how you perform in adversity that really counts."
"We begin this year with a completely new brand identity courtesy of our new partners AT&T, four new or upgraded sponsors including Lenovo, a wealth of new engineering talent and, of course, what we hope to be the focus of all these efforts and ambitions, the FW29."
Technical Director Sam Michael explained, "The FW29 continues the design philosophy of the FW28 with a zero keel configuration. The other notable elements of the design include another step in the undercut of the sidepod leading edge (with top louvres for cooling), improved engine and exhaust packaging to address the reliability issues experienced in 2006 and a lower and narrower top deck for improved aerodynamic efficiency."
"The other prominent differences from the FW28 include large chimneys expressly for cooling at the season's first three races and a narrower engine cover spine. At the rear of the car, a twin pillar configuration supports a lighter and lower drag rear wing, now featuring FIA-mandatory slot gap separators to prevent deflection and a lower and wider rear impact structure as required by regulation."
The FW29 passed all mandatory FIA static and dynamic tests and features some of the new regulation safety elements such as Zylon-enhanced side impact structures to protect the driver by virtue of enhanced penetration resistance.
From a driver perspective, Nico Rosberg moves forward from his rookie season having gained a year of invaluable experience. "The experience from last year is going to help me significantly this season. The F1 environment is completely unique and I have learnt how to handle all of its various elements now. In the past weeks everyone in the team has been very positive and put great effort into the new car, so I think we can be optimistic about a much improved season ahead of us."
Nico is joined by the vastly experienced Alex Wurz who is bubbling with anticipation and excitement about the prospect of racing again. "Although I have done thousands and thousands of Formula One kilometres in the last couple of years, I simply haven't had enough of the real stuff -- racing -- so I can't wait for the season to start. There is a really high sense of motivation in the whole team ahead of the coming season and of course I am very proud to be part of the AT&T Williams team."
Nico and Alex will be ably supported by established tester, Narain Karthikeyan, who will continue to bring his own pace and capability to the test programme. He will be assisted in this role by new recruit, Kazuki Nakajima, who will be contributing to the team's Friday activities at some Grands Prix in the forthcoming season.
Commercially the team has enjoyed a successful winter, recruiting new title partner AT&T and increasing its sponsorship engagements with Philips and Randstad, who both now have on-car presence, an increased investment in response to a positive experience in their first season with the team. Today's announcement that Lenovo has joined the team as a major partner consolidates a robust commercial outlook.
Headquartered in Purchase, New York, Lenovo is an international technology company formed as a result of the acquisition by the Lenovo Group of the IBM Personal Computing Division. With 19,000 employees worldwide and revenues of US$13 billion, Lenovo is a major global manufacturer of computing equipment for both the consumer and enterprise marketplace. The company will support the AT&T Williams team with a wide range of hardware to support a variety of operational activity.
With the advent of a new title partnership relationship, Williams today unveiled a new corporate identity, drawing on its thirty year heritage by returning to an iconic 'W' brand device, refreshed and re-interpreted for the team's fourth decade of racing. The new corporate identity forms part of the new racing identity of AT&T Williams. This new identity will be universally unveiled trackside, but is reflected in the new racing livery of the FW29.
Also newly launched today is the team website located at www.attwilliams.com, with vastly improved and increased content, facilities and services for all user communities from consumers to the media and other stakeholders such as team partners.
The new site is not only intended to challenge the conventional online presentation of Formula One, but also forms part of a wider cross platform media partnership Williams has entered into with Endemol UK, a global leader in emerging media including format television and other audiovisual entertainment including content to mobile.
With all of these disparate elements of progress over the winter, Williams' Director of Engineering, Patrick Head, neatly summarised the team's approach to 2007. "Of course we start every project we undertake with the ambition of being the best, whether in engineering or marketing terms and indeed we approach every race with the sole ambition to win."
"But we are not in the business of predicting the year ahead as that requires me to speculate about the likely performance of our rivals. All I can say is that as an organisation we exist to race and everyone in the company has shown a singular sense of purpose over the winter and so we look forward to Melbourne with anticipation".
The AT&T Williams team hits the track in Jerez on Tuesday February 6 with two FW29s to build upon the significant testing mileage undertaken on interim winter cars with four weeks of testing in Spain, prior to the season's first race on Melbourne on March 18.