Williams became the fourth team in the space of five days to launch its 2006 challenger when it presented the FW28 at its Grove headquarters in Oxfordshire on January 27th. The car displayed blue and white livery, although a darker blue than last...
Williams became the fourth team in the space of five days to launch its 2006 challenger when it presented the FW28 at its Grove headquarters in Oxfordshire on January 27th. The car displayed blue and white livery, although a darker blue than last season, and features a distinctive 'barbed sting', as the team described it, on the rear of the engine cover.
Williams will be Cosworth-powered this season and, the same as with other teams, the loss of power with the V8 engine has been compensated by aerodynamic efficiency. The rear wing is redesigned, including decambered tips, and at the other end of the chassis the team has opted for a zero keel and cascaded front wing. The switch to Bridgestone tyres prompted a weight redistribution and change of suspension.
"The FW28 has been a large departure from previous Williams' designs due in part to new aerodynamic efficiency targets, but also the mechanical challenges of changing to Bridgestone tyres and Cosworth's V8 engine," said technical director Sam Michael. "It has been a really interesting car to design and I believe that will continue to be the case during its development in 2006."
Cosworth CEO Tim Routsis added: "The CA2006 V8 was first installed in the WilliamsF1 FW27C interim car in November last year, since when it has completed in excess of 7,000kms of test mileage. Progress achieved so far by Williams and Cosworth validates the expectation of the partnership enjoying a competitive campaign this season."
Williams has announced a batch of new partners and sponsors recently, as well as extensions to existing agreements. "By any standard, this is a strong start to the year," said team principal Frank Williams. "The FW28 reflects our very best efforts, we have a reinvigorated and strengthened driver line-up and we are privileged to have secured many new partners who are confident we will take the fight to the opposition this year."
As for the drivers, Nico Rosberg enters his rookie F1 season alongside Mark Webber to take the cars into competition. Former McLaren man Alex Wurz was confirmed as official test and third driver at the beginning of Janaury and just prior to the launch the team announced Narain Karthikeyan as the fourth pilot to complete the line up.
Williams will start testing the FW28 at Valencia next week, and, after its struggles in 2005, the team is aware of what it needs to achieve this year. "The FW28 has a lot resting on its shoulders as it must re-establish Williams at the sharp end," said Michael. "There are many good teams in Formula One now and how to beat them is simple -- design a faster car."