On January 31st it was the turn of Williams to launch its 2005 challenger and the FW27 was revealed at Valencia in Spain. As with other new cars that have been launched, the appearance of the FW27 shows the effects of the new regulations for this season, with a slightly higher front wing and further forward back wing.
Unlike its predecessor, which had a radical front wing dubbed the 'walrus', the FW27 has a more conventional single-keel design. The cooling system is "aggressive", according to technical director Sam Michael, with low engine bodywork and sidepod undercuts. Reducing weight and increasing stiffness were also key elements in the design process.
Michael explained that reliability was another focus for 2005. "While reducing weight, a lot of attention has been placed on reliability, in particular the gearbox," he said. "The FW27 gearbox has been running on the track since November 2004 with no major problems and any issues we had with last season's gearbox have been resolved."
2004 was not one of the best season's Williams has ever had and team principal Frank Williams is determined to make amends. "We want to move back into the winning lane," he stated. "The mistakes of 2004 must not happen again. We must implement the new regulations to our best advantage and be completely with it when it comes down to it."
BMW, Williams' engine partner, is equally determined. "For four years we surpassed our targets," said motorsport director Mario Theissen. "Then in 2004 we found ourselves in a trough, failing to meet our expectations for the first time. We now aim to accumulate successes once more with renewed strength."
It's a new race driver line-up for Williams in 2005; at the launch it was announced that Nick Heidfeld will be teammate to Mark Webber this season, while Antonio Pizzonia will continue his test driver role. Frank Williams is, naturally, convinced that they will be a strong squad.
"I have every confidence that our drivers will be a major catalyst this season," he said. "Not only will they be taking every opportunity to demonstrate that our decisions to employ them were well placed, but also you cannot underestimate the incentive it provides to everyone in the company, and at the trackside, to be working with new faces."
Heidfeld, who was in competition with Pizzonia for the race seat, was only told that he had it shortly before launch commenced. "Until yesterday afternoon I wasn't really nervous, but then the closer it came to the decision the more nervous I got," said the German. "Frank was just waiting around the corner here in this hangar and he told me about half an hour before we had to go on stage."
Webber, who has previously made it clear that he is not keen on Pizzonia, is pleased Heidfeld got the race seat. "I haven't raced Nick that often, I think we've been in different situations," he said. "But he's very fair, very professional, races well, races hard, very consistent, knows how to bring the car home and is just absolutely what the doctor ordered for us."
Heidfeld and Webber took the FW27 out on the Valencia track for it's shakedown laps in the afternoon. "The FW27 looked great on stage this morning and it felt the same this afternoon on the track," said Heidfeld. "I have only driven a couple of laps so far, but already it feels familiar. Hopefully a strong preparation for the season ahead starts now."
Williams BMW FW27 Technical Specifications
Transmission: WilliamsF1 semi automatic
Chassis: Carbon Aramid epoxy composite manufactured by WilliamsF1
Cooling system: Water and oil radiators
Brakes: Carbon Industrie carbon discs and pads operated by AP calipers
Wheels: O.Z: 13x12 front, 13x13.7 rear
Cockpit Instrumentatior: WilliamsF1 digital data display
Steering wheel: WilliamsF1
Driver's seat: Anatomically formed in carbon/epoxy composite material with Alcantara covering
Extinguisher systems: WilliamsF1/Safety Devices
Front track: Maxiumum allowance
Rear track: Maximum allowance
Weight: 605 kg including driver and camera for qualifying, 600 kg for race
Engine: BMW P84/5
Type: Normally aspirated V10
Cylinder angle: 90 degrees
Displacement: 2,998 cc
Cylinders: Four valves per cylinder
Valve drive: Pneumatic
Engine block: Aluminium
Cylinder head: Aluminium
Oil system: Dry sump lubrication
Engine management: BMW