It may be a new era for Formula One and a new car for Williams, but the Grove-based squad continues to honor two very important figures from their team’s proud history.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna, who lost his life in an accident during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix while driving for Williams.
Since that dark day, every Williams Formula One car has featured Senna’s famous “S” logo somewhere on it to remember him. And so it goes with their 2014 challenger, the FW36…
Additionally, the other side of the nose features a separate tribute to Lady Virginia Williams, the wife of team founder Sir Frank Williams, who passed away last March after battling cancer for several years. As Sir Frank himself said last May about Senna and “Ginny,” “we as a team want them to be the first to cross the finish line in every race Williams takes part in.”
The Mercedes-powered FW36, decked out in Williams’ “heritage blue” testing livery, made its debut by rolling out of the Jerez garage late in today’s opening day of Formula One preseason testing with second-year driver Valtteri Bottas behind the wheel.
His new Williams teammate, veteran Felipe Massa, is scheduled to be in the car for the last two days of the session on Thursday and Friday.
After a couple of installation laps, Bottas logged a timed lap in the FW36 at 1 minute, 30.082 seconds before today’s testing came to a close.
On a relatively quiet afternoon of action, that was good for third on the time charts behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen (1:27.104, 31 laps) and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (1:27.820, 18 laps), who crashed in the team’s new W05 car after a front wing failure.
In a team-issued Q-and-A to coincide with today’s launch, deputy team principal Claire Williams was very clear about her team’s goals following a dreadful 2013 that only saw them garner five points – four of them coming from Bottas’ eighth-place finish at the United States Grand Prix.
“We have to make progress,” she said. “I think that’s the single most important message for this year. We finished ninth in the [constructors’] championship last year and that was disappointing for everybody at Grove.
“We all know we have to do better. There is no alternative.”