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Williams unveils new FW38 Formula 1 car for 2016

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Williams has become the first team to fully launch its Formula 1 car for the 2016 season by releasing the first images of its FW38 model.

The livery of the new car is very similar to that of its predecessor, mixing a simple white design with the iconic Martini stripes running from the rear wing to the nosecone.

Williams has finished third in the constructors’ championship for the past two years, and is looking to build on this success with the new car.

“Williams has started to cement our position back amongst the front running teams after finishing third in the championship in the past two seasons,” team owner Sir Frank Williams said.

“This has been a great achievement given the resources of those around us. Staying where we are will be a challenge in itself, but we are determined to keep improving because only winning will ever be good enough. ”

Drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas have been retained for the new season, and although Williams has complete faith in the duo, he is waiting to reserve judgement on the new car until the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona next week.

“We have a very stable team going into 2016, with Felipe and Valtteri teaming up for a third successive season. They work well together and both have the ideal blend of speed and consistency,” Williams said.

“Our technical team has also remained very consistent which will be to our advantage and we have some of the best engineering minds on the grid at our disposal.

“We have a busy couple of weeks of testing coming up to learn more about our package and to refine the car ahead of the first race. We will have to wait until Melbourne to find out exactly where we stand in the pecking order but I’m confident that our hard work over the winter will stand us in good stead.”

Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds explained how the relatively stable technical regulations for the new season prompted the team to concentrate on retaining the best qualities of the 2015 car, the FW37, while also developing the required areas such as low speed performance.

“The FW37 was a pretty effective car and so we concentrated on understanding the areas where we could improve it without losing the attributes which made it effective,” Symonds said.

“It is no secret that the low speed performance of the FW37 didn’t match its high speed performance so a lot of time was spent looking into why this was and subsequently making changes, which we hope will improve the situation.

“On top of this we looked at the normal physical obstacles to development that one always meets during the life of a car and tried to push those barriers back.

“We have very few changes to the technical regulations. As always we are trying to improve safety and so the cockpit sides adjacent to the driver’s head are not only higher but they are also significantly stronger.

“Something the spectators may notice more is that the engines will sound a bit sharper. Over the winter we can expect more power from improved combustion and this will in itself produce a bit more noise but perhaps more significantly the turbo wastegate is no longer plumbed into the main exhaust.

“This should not only produce an engine note that is around 12% louder than before but may also from time to time trigger some of the dramatic sounds we all associate with high performance turbo charged engines.”

The Williams FW38 will hit the track for the first time in Barcelona on Monday at the start of pre-season testing.

Oliver Askew: ‘I was starting to lose confidence’ after ‘hardest hit I’ve had’

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Oliver Askew knew something was medically wrong in the days after concussion-like symptoms began from “the hardest hit I’ve ever had” in the Indianapolis 500. He’d been evaluated and cleared to race after the Aug. 23 crash, but he just didn’t feel right.

The IndyCar rookie told The Associated Press on Thursday he has been experiencing dizziness, sleeping difficulties, irritability, headaches and confusion since he crashed in the Aug. 23 race. He continued to race in four more events as he tried to “play through it” until friends and family encouraged him to seek medical treatment.

He since has been diagnosed with a concussion and is working on a recovery plan with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s sports medicine concussion program, the same place NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. received care after concussions in 2012 and ’16. Askew will not compete in next weekend’s doubleheader on the road course at Indianapolis, and Arrow McLaren SP will put three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Chevrolet.

“This is all I’ve worked for,” the 23-year-old told AP. “I don’t come from money, and I’ve worked my way up and have finally gotten my shot in a good car. And then all of a sudden, the results just weren’t there in a car I knew should be performing. And I just didn’t feel like myself, you know?

“So initially I felt like I needed to stay in the car and continue to improve. And then I didn’t feel like I could do that with my condition and what was going on. I was starting to lose confidence in myself.”

Earnhardt praised Askew for going to Pittsburgh to see Dr. Micky Collins.

“Oliver is in the best hands when it comes to taking care of this problem and getting back on the racetrack. It was very smart of him to get in front of Micky so that he could understand the seriousness of the situation and begin the process of getting well,” Earnhardt said. “You can absolutely heal from this but not without taking the step of getting help. Often that’s the most difficult step.”

Athletes often hide injuries to continue competing, and even Earnhardt admittedly masked concussions during his driving career. Askew didn’t know what was wrong with him but was frightened to get out of the car.

He is a paid driver who brings no sponsorship money to the team (but did bring a $1 million scholarship for winning last year’s Indy Lights championship), and owner Sam Schmidt holds the option on his contract.

As he tried to race on, his performance suffered. Askew had finished third and sixth at Iowa — the previous two races before Indianapolis. After the crash, he was part of a multicar accident the next week at Gateway and has not finished higher than 14th in the four races since Indy.

A year after winning seven Indy Lights races, Askew has fallen from 12th to 18th in the standings and slipped considerably off the pace. He said he struggled in team debriefs, had difficulty giving feedback and has gone through a personality change that was noticeable to those close to Askew.

Spire Sports + Entertainment, which represents Askew and was among those who pushed the driver to see a doctor, noted Arrow McLaren SP did not reveal that Askew was suffering from a concussion in its Thursday announcement he would miss next week’s race.

“Oliver clearly demonstrated his talent until Lap 91 of the Indianapolis 500, and I hope this does not become another case study of why athletes do not tell their teams they are injured,” said agent Jeff Dickerson. “The reason they do that is because more often times than not they are replaced. In motorsports, there is always somebody to replace you, and whether it was Dale Jr. or Oliver Askew, there is always another driver available.

“I hope this is not a barrier to progress for other drivers — especially young drivers afraid of losing their job — to notify their teams they are hurt. I hope the team proves me wrong because the good news is, the kid has had a head injury for the past month and has still run 14th in IndyCar.”

After finally seeking medical treatment, Askew said he was relieved to learn there was something wrong. He said doctors told him the injury has a “100% recovery rate” and he believes he will be able to race in the IndyCar season finale next month at St. Petersburg. He’s been rehabilitating with exercises and tasks that strain the brain such as deliberately going to grocery stores and the airport.

“Honestly, you know, if I had not gone to see medical professionals I would probably stay in the car,” Askew said. “But now after hearing what’s wrong and that it could get worse, God forbid I have another hit, I know I did the right thing. I think I can be an example for young drivers now in stepping up and saying something is wrong, I need to have this checked out.”