Williams looking to mount F1 challenge
Frank Williams is convinced his team can fight their way back this season to again “challenge the very best”.
Williams today became the last team to unveil their latest car ahead of the new Formula One campaign, which starts with the Australian Grand Prix on March 17.
Taking the wraps off the FW35 at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya prior to the start of the second test, the car is 80 per cent new despite the stability in the regulations going into the new season.
Primarily, the car possesses a new gearbox, rear suspension, floor, radiators, exhausts, bodywork and nose.
Williams said: “A group of talented people with good imagination and plenty of courage have been working together to build the car.
“We will have to wait until Australia to truly see what we have, but we believe it is a step forward from last year’s car which was also a very competitive vehicle.
“Williams has been at the top many times over the last 30 years. It’s the nature of the sport to have ups and downs, but when we are down we always fight our way back.
“I’m hoping with the current team we have in place, our new FW35, the combined talent of Pastor (Maldonado), Valtteri (Bottas) and Susie (Wolff), we will be in a position to challenge the very best.”
Maldonado returned Williams to the top step of the podium for the first time in seven and a half years last season with his victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.
But the inconsistency of the Venezuelan and then team-mate Bruno Senna was frustrating, despite the car’s potential.
Ahead of his third season with the team, Maldonado, described by Williams as “a delightful character who is massively determined”, knows what is expected of him.
“Last year we won a race and were competitive, but this season we must be even more competitive which I believe is possible,” said Maldonado.
“Consistency will be our aim to close the gap to the teams in front, with my goal to help take the team back to the top.”
For this season Williams have replaced Senna with young Finn Bottas, on whom they have high hopes.
Williams said: “Valtteri is quieter but still waters run deep, and he is a highly-gifted driver.”
After three years in reserve, Bottas now has his opportunity to prove himself.
“It’s a big step and I’m really looking forward to it,” said the 23-year-old.
“I have been doing a lot of training, meeting with my engineers and working in the simulator in preparation, so I feel ready.
“We know we have improved our car from last season but I am looking forward to seeing how it compares on track.
“The moment the start lights go out in Melbourne is a moment I have been building towards my whole career.”