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Williams reveals launch date

NEWS STORY
31/01/2020

Williams has confirmed the launch date for its 2020 challenger, the FW43, as Monday 17 February at 08:00 (GMT).

"The team have been working hard in the build-up to the 2020 Formula One season, getting ready for the fight ahead," said the Grove outfit in a brief statement as it launched the hashtags #weareracing and #wearefightng.

2019 was always going to be a watershed year for Williams, which would either learn from the disaster of 2018 or continue to lose its way and possibly face the fate of numerous other championship winning teams that believed they were immune to the realities of failure.

However, anyone hoping that 2018 was a mere blip in the team's fortunes was in for a major shock, for Williams, the most successful of British constructors in terms of team titles, not only finished bottom of the pile again, it scored just one point from 21 outings.

It was clear that there was a problem when the Grove outfit didn't reveal a date for its initial shakedown, those initial fears intensifying when the team missed the first two days of pre-season testing.

Though, courtesy of a Herculean effort by the crew, the car rolled out halfway through the third day of the test, ignoring its woeful pace, the big story going round the paddock was who was to blame. Days later it was announced that Paddy Lowe was on leave of absence, the former Mercedes technical boss finally cutting ties with the team in the summer.

Meanwhile, Robert Kubica and George Russell had to continue with a car that was a dud, exactly how much of a dud only becoming clear in Melbourne.

From the outset, both drivers complained of a serious lack of grip, the Briton subsequently admitting that the FW42 had a "fundamental" issue that would take months to resolve.

And thus began a season of absolute torture for all concerned, neither driver making it to Q2 over the course of the whole season, far less Q3. At season end, Russell's average qualifying position was 18.43, while his teammate's was 19.67.

It wasn't as if things got any better on Sunday, for the pair were regularly two or three laps down on the winner.

In a season of unparalleled disasters for what is widely regarded as one of the sport's true greats, the awfulness of it all was best summed up by events in Azerbaijan.

On his install lap in FP1, Russell ran over a loose manhole cover which badly damaged his car. Then, as if to rub the team's nose in it, as the badly damaged FW42 was transported back to the pits, the low level truck that was carrying it struck a bridge, and subsequently covered the car in oil. To compound the team's misery, Kubica subsequently crashed in Q1.

All this at a time the Grove outfit was already worryingly short on spares.

Once the team began to introduce updates, none of which appeared to have any significant effect, this kick-started behind-the-scenes shenanigans as Kubica complained that Russell was being given preference.

Later in the year, moments after Russell went off into the barriers after a wheel nut retainer failed in Sochi, the team called in Kubica to retire him. This prompted sponsor PKN Orlen to issue a statement citing a contractual breach, with Williams subsequently admitting that it retired the Pole due to "accident damage"... and also to save parts for future races.

On and on and on it went, the Grove legend a shadow of its former self, now almost an embarrassment to behold.

The team's sole point came courtesy of Kubica, who was promoted to tenth after both Alfa Romeo drivers were handed time penalties for receiving outside aid before the start of the German Grand Prix.

Ironically, the Pole joins Alfa Romeo as its test and reserve driver this season, taking PKN Orlen with him, while Nicholas Latifi joins Russell.

While the signing of Roy Nissany as test driver has done little to inspire confidence, the Grove outfit has made a number of high-profile technical signings.

Today's announcement leaves Red Bull as the only team still to officially confirm its launch date.

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1. Posted by Aicha, 04/02/2020 2:24 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 04/02/2020 7:49)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

2. Posted by Anthony, 31/01/2020 10:38

"Good luck, Williams! Things can only improve on 2019. "

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