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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Williams FW36 Is Here To Eat Your Ants


2014 Williams FW36 CGI preview (testing livery)
Yesterday, Formula 1 2014 kicked off properly with the first image of the newly-redesigned cars appearing online in the form of the Force India VJM07. The thing is, that car was shown to us from the side view, cunningly hiding the actual shape of the nose. Williams, on the other hand, have not been so shy and have released four CGI preview pictures of their new Mercedes-powered FW36.

So, that nose then. Let's just say it, shall we? It looks like a flacid penis. The reason for this - and don't worry, there is a reason - is that new aero regulations stipulate a nose whose tip is just 185mm off the ground, as opposed to being about 525mm high last year. However, because F1 teams know that getting air underneath the nose means that they can channel more air to the diffuser, they've exploited a loophole that says the nose tip only has to be a certain width. So, as the nose rises up from the tip, they only have to make it that width, meaning that most of the air flows right past the lowest part and under the main front chassis, giving them more air to control than if they'd just made the whole nose the same width à la Brawn GP.

I wonder if the nose flexes upwards when there's a grid girl nearby?
Moving on from the nose, which I actually don't think is as bad as it could have been, this is the first time that Williams has used a Mercedes engine, which considering this is their 36th car makes that a relatively big deal for them. The Mercedes-AMG engine - sorry, "Power Unit" - is touted to be the best of the bunch, hence why Lewis Hamilton spent 2013 embedding himself in the factory team, but that might just be based on the fact that they had the most potent V8, and as we've seen from Red Bull Racing, you can beat the more powerful engine with better aerodynamics. It's suspected that even with this new lower-profile aero package on all the cars, Formula 1 is still a sport where having a faster car depends primarily on how well it manipulates the air.

But anyway, here it is from the side, and head-on. The car will gain a proper livery at the Australian Grand Prix in March, where it'll be piloted by Felipe Massa (because Williams is where Brazilians go to finish their F1 careers) and Valtteri Bottas.

Hey, you can't see the weird nose shape from this angle!


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