The Grove-based team are looking to improve their fortunes in 2023 after finishing bottom of the Constructors’ Championship last season.
It also suffered further management upheavals over the winter, with the departure of team principal Jost Capito and technical director François-Xavier Demaison.
Although the timing of the change was not ideal, the team designers were able to continue with the FW45, and the team hopes the changes made have addressed some of the weaknesses of last year’s model.
But Williams vehicle performance manager Dave Robson explained that while the car will have notable visible differences, it retains the concept inherent in last year’s car.
“It’s philosophically an evolution,” he said. “Obviously the regulatory changes around the floor are dominating some of it, and I think the other thing you’ll find most obvious is an update to the sidepod package, which is an evolution of what we’ve been doing for the Silverstone Upgrade Package [in 2022].
“We were then a little constrained by the layout of the radiators and didn’t want to completely change that. So we had the opportunity to work on that and present things a little differently.
“Those are probably the main visible things. But, philosophically, it is an evolution.
The new Williams is due to have its first shakedown at Silverstone on Monday, with another day of filming scheduled in Bahrain ahead of the only pre-season test at Sakhir from February 23.
Williams FW45 livery detail
Photo by: Williams
Driver Alex Albon said Williams was well aware of the weak points in last year’s car and where the FW45 needed to be addressed.
“There were obvious weaknesses in the car,” he explained. “It’s not just me, Nicky too [Latifi] last year Logan [Sargeant] also drove the car. There were some pretty obvious weaknesses in the car.
“I can say the low-speed front lockout was a big issue for us last year, and we’re trying to get around that and figure out why it was so difficult. So in areas like that, there’s has a common goal of improving the car.
“Everyone is involved in the development and trying to address the weaknesses we had.”
Robson says the team spent a lot of time trying to find a better balance between its strength in high-speed/low-downforce trim and what was needed for low-speed performance.
“Low-speed, high-downforce corners were definitely important to us in terms of the specification of the car,” he said.
“I think a lot of it depends on his characteristics and how the riders can use the downforce he has. We’ve worked a lot on that. We’ve set ourselves targets.
“It’s hard to set a lap time target on something like that, and so trading it for base downforce and drag can be tough. But we think we’ve set some good targets.
“We believe we have made good progress when we take the aeromap data from the wind tunnel and analyze it in the simulator with the pilots. But we will have to see. We definitely need to make improvements there and I like to think we’ve done just that.