Williams FW46 breaks cover in Bahrain shakedown


Williams’ new FW46 has finally hit the track, making its shakedown debut at the Bahrain International Circuit on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Williams unveiled a striking new livery in New York, but the actual car remained under wraps.

However, with initial plans for a Silverstone filming day scrapped due to unpredictable weather, the team opted for a surprise reveal in Bahrain, just a day before pre-season testing kicks off.

A short clip published on social media by Williams showed the car leaving the pits with Logan Sargeant at the wheel.

Williams team boss James Vowles, the man spearheading the Grove-based outfit’s significant transformation, revealed in New York that the team’s engineers had taken a bold approach to the design of FW46 while relying on very different processes and chassis technology.

“What we were doing with this car is pushing everything to the limits,” Vowles said. “And to give you ideas about that, the chassis technology is different, some of the other technologies are quite different to what we've done before.

“Those changes are enormous for an organisation, absolutely enormous. Some of those have challenged us to push ourselves beyond where we wanted to be.

“You simply can't do everything at the same time, you can't change what you're doing and break technology cycles, and put yourself in a much better performance situation, without taking an enormous amount of risk.

“And we have, but there's no doubt about it having the car where we have it now, and you'll see it in Bahrain, is late.”

While the actual results remain to be seen, Vowles made clear that the FW46 represents a bold attempt to overcome past issues and propel Williams towards a more competitive future.

The new design aims to be a well-rounded contender, conquering the weaknesses that plagued its predecessor.

“All too often, it is too easy to do something you feel comfortable with and therefore you only move the car a small percent forwards,” added Vowles.

“We pushed things right to the limit and very late, there's no doubt about it. And there are times where I don't mind admitting I wasn't sleeping for probably days at a time, because the weight of 1000 people falls on your shoulders.

“But I'm confident that what we are doing is right for the future.”

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