The Williams F1 Team unveiled its 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship season entry, the Williams Renault FW34, at the Jerez circuit in Spain today. This year marks the team’s 35th year competing in the sport which it will do with a revitalised line-up.
The mechanical and aerodynamic design and development direction of the FW34 has been driven by a new technical leadership. Guided by Technical Director Mike Coughlan, this year’s car takes on a fresh design philosophy. Revised FIA technical regulations - of which the most significant are bans on exhaust blowing and exotic engine mapping and a drop in nose height, the FW34 carries fewer than five per cent of the parts from last year’s FW33.
The team will also race with a new driver pairing in 2012 as Bruno Senna partners Pastor Maldonado after a considered winter evaluation process. Finn Valtteri Bottas completes the driver line up as Official Reserve Driver, taking part in most of the season’s Friday practice sessions.
Williams rejoins Renault for its engine partnership. Williams and Renault enjoyed a nine-year association between 1989 and 1997 which produced four Drivers’ and five Constructors’ titles and 63 race wins. The French manufacturer’s RS27 V8 power unit is renowned for its drivability, flexibility and durability and will provide the FW34 with a strong performance platform for the forthcoming season.
Powering the team’s efforts in this year’s championship will be a broad partner group. Existing partners, including Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), Venezuelan Tourism, Randstad, Thomson Reuters, Ridge Solutions, Hatch and McGregor will be joined by new additions confirmed today. Gillette, Embratel, Head & Shoulders, OGX and MRV, together with Michael Johnson Performance announced in January, will all be supporting the team as it works towards a competitive season of Formula One motor racing.
Frank Williams, Team Principal:“One could say that looking at the Williams F1 Team today we are off to a truly fresh start. We have a new car, new driver line up, new engine and new senior personnel. We also have a number of new partners who have joined the team in the past few months. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome them formally and sincerely wish that they have an enjoyable and, most importantly, a valuable experience with us. The team has had a good winter at the factory and we feel ready and strong for the fight.”
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer:“We are really looking forward to this season and from a personal perspective I can't wait to get the FW34 on to the race track. The factory has worked extremely hard over the winter to ensure that the car met its design, build and rig test targets and we start testing with the car prepared to a high standard. We’ve worked in close co-operation with all of our partners to achieve that, including Renault Sport F1. In the run-up to Australia, we will be working hard with our exciting new driver line-up to ensure that we maximise and unlock the full potential of the FW34. It is imperative that we demonstrate a continuous improvement in our performance and deliver results throughout the season.”
Pastor Maldonado:“I'm happy to be racing again with Williams. I have faith in the FW34 and the Renault engine and so have high hopes for the races ahead. It will be very important that we develop the car from the start of the season to the end. Now that I have a year’s experience, I can help in that area much more now. As we start a new year, it's an exciting moment for my country Venezuela and I hope we can give them some good results to thank them for their continued support. We have many new components in the team so we will need to be focussed and work together well so that we may be stronger every day. I wish everyone in the team the best for the year and welcome Renault and Bruno.”
Bruno Senna:“I’m very excited to be back in action with the Williams F1 Team in Jerez. This is my ever first pre-season testing programme since I started in Formula One two years ago. I’m really motivated and looking forward to working hard and with everyone in the team. I hope we have a successful month testing and developing the car so we arrive in Melbourne as well prepared as possible.”
Valtteri Bottas:“I am really excited about the year ahead and grateful to the team for giving me this opportunity. I will be driving one practice session at 15 races which will give me some proper mileage with the car. This will give me a better understanding of the car as well as an insight into what happens at a race weekend. I will still spend a lot of time at the factory preparing for the practice sessions and helping the team to develop the car over the season.”