Williams has released the first images of its 2018 car following a season launch event in London.
Now entering its 41st year in Formula One, the former champions face one of their most challenging seasons yet as they attempt to halt their steady decline from third place in the championship in 2014 and 2015 to fifth in 2016 and 2017. The team hopes the FW41 will be up to that task as it enters its fifth season using the class-leading Mercedes power unit and welcomes Sergey Sirotkin to its driver line-up alongside Lance Stroll.
The FW41 is also the first Williams to be designed from the ground up under Paddy Lowe's technical leadership after the former Mercedes tech boss made the switch from Brackley to Grove at the start of last year. It is the second car to be launched this year after Haas released digital images of its VF-18 on Wednesday.
"It is very exciting to be giving everyone the first look at the FW41," Lowe said. "It is the product of some great teamwork across the various functions in the organisation including aerodynamics design, vehicle dynamics, race engineering and systems engineering. 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.
"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. Aerodynamics, structure and weight are the three major trades to be made in designing a Formula One car, and all the work, alongside a number of radical changes to the car's packaging to incorporate further developments from Mercedes HPP, have led us to the FW41 being revealed today.
"We hope that this car will make progress in the performance rankings relative to 2017. The whole technical team is also feeling very positive about our two talented young race drivers with the combination of Lance and Sergey, alongside the contribution of Robert [Kubica] as our reserve and development driver."
Although the nose of the car bears a resemblance to last year's FW40, the FW41 appears to have received a significant rethink. The mandatory Halo device sits above the driver's head while the sidepod openings and side crash structures either side of the cockpit have been reworked and are now similar in design to the concept pioneered by Ferrari last year. The design had been unique to Ferrari last season, but a version of it has featured on both cars launched so far this year. The Williams also features new aero devices above the bargeboards, although this area is hard to determine from the original images due to the dark section of livery running on the lower half of the car. There also appear to be front dive-planes on either side of the nose, not dissimilar to last year's Mercedes.
The rear of the car appears to be tightly packaged while the shark fin engine cover has been trimmed to comply with this year's new regulations around that area of the car. A T-wing has been mounted ahead of the rear wing, but is much lower than the unpopular T-wings that were attached to last year's engine cover.
Up close with Williams' FW41
Get a closer look at Williams' 2018 challenger, the FW41.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: "I am thrilled to be back and launching our new car, for a new season, with a new, exciting driver line-up. 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.
"Lance produced some impressive performances last year in what was a remarkably strong debut season, where he only just lost out to Felipe in the standings. His podium finish was the only one outside of the top three teams, and we aim to build on that this season.
"It's also my pleasure to welcome Sergey and Robert to Williams, who have both displayed exceptional speed and qualities that I know will only strengthen the team. Sergey has impressed the technical team and it is great for us to be able to give him the opportunity to step up into a race seat. Robert, will also be working closely with the team, utilising his experience to help develop the car throughout the season.
"Our entire team have put a huge amount of effort into the development and production of this year's car, and we're all looking forward to seeing it on the track. I would also like to thank our partners and fans for all their confidence and support."