Williams Martini Racing became the second team to reveal their car for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season on Thursday.
The car, dubbed the FW41, was officially revealed during a team launch in London, which featured deputy team principal Claire Williams and chief technical officer Paddy Lowe, along with drivers Lance Stroll, Sergey Sirotkin, and Robert Kubica – Kubica being the team’s reverse driver.
“I am thrilled to be back and launching our new car, for a new season, with a new, exciting driver line-up,” said Claire Williams during the launch. “For many months, the team have put a tremendous amount of effort into the FW41 and I’m eager to see both Lance and Sergey take to the track later this month.”
Technical officer Paddy Lowe discussed the car’s development and revealed that it has very different aerodynamics from last year’s FW40.
“The car has many new features, most of which are not all that obvious, but externally the team has pursued a very different aerodynamic concept which has allowed us some significant progress in aerodynamic performance,” Lowe detailed. “All Formula One cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involve a number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past. Overall, the philosophy we are starting to see emerge is a new approach to the collaboration between aerodynamics and design to achieve the optimum working result.”
The Williams team will look to improve upon their 2017 season, in which they finished fifth in the constructor’s championship and achieved a best race result of third, with Lance Stroll, at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.