2019 tech verdict: How Williams struggled from the start

Join us as we delve into Giorgio Piola’s 2019 archive and bring you insight into the relentless development undertaken by the teams throughout a season in the pursuit of more performance. In today’s gallery we will focus on… Williams.

The Williams FW42 was late to the start of the party in 2019, as it suffered delays in the build of the car and totally missed the first few days of the pre-season test.

When the car did emerge there were several design components that raised eyebrows, with questions marks surrounding the front suspension and mirrors, which only added further drama as the team scrambled to rectify designs that the FIA deemed illegal.

 

Williams FW42 legal wishbone comparison

Williams FW42 legal wishbone comparison

 

FW42 broke cover with a front suspension configuration that saw an additional element mounted behind the rear leg of the lower wishbone (inset). The regulations are pretty specific when it comes to the number of elements that can be considered legal when defining the suspension and while Williams considered itself to be on safe ground, the FIA asked it to return to a more conventional arrangement (main image). The initial designs purpose was not structural or even necessary for the suspension design, rather an attempt to improve the aerodynamic output of the wishbone.

Williams FW42 suspension detail

Williams FW42 suspension detail

 

Williams followed in the footsteps of some of the other teams when it introduced a raised front-upper wishbone solution for 2019.

Williams technical detail

Williams technical detail

 

In this image from Bahrain we can see that Williams has, like the rest of the field, opted to upturn the leading edge of the floor in order to force more airflow beneath the car. However, its floor has a much more abrupt slope and only two guiding vanes.

Williams FW42, bargeboard

Williams FW42, bargeboard

 

Williams made quite extensive changes to the bargeboard and sidepod deflector region as part of an update introduced in Germany. The aero team were looking to better deal with the wake created by the front tyre and the impact it has on the car’s midriff.

Williams Racing FW42, front wing

Williams Racing FW42, front wing

 

The team introduced longer wing pillars and a revised cape solution at the Japanese GP, as it looked to affect the car's overall aero map.

Williams Racing FW42 front wing detail

Williams Racing FW42 front wing detail

 

Williams sat squarely at the far end of the front wing design spectrum that had appeared for the new regulations in 2019. The wing uses the full span of the area available, loading the outboard section. In Japan it opted to test a slightly different version, with an eye on 2020. In this image, for comparison, we can see that the main specification wing has been bolted on the car, along with a kiel probe array being mounted within the brake duct scoop to gather additional data.

Williams Racing FW42 front wing detail

Williams Racing FW42 front wing detail

 

The development wing seen here has the adjuster moved much further inboard, meaning any adjustments made to balance the car will only see the innermost part of the wing affected. The outboard section was reduced in height to adjust how the airflow circulates near the flap and endplate juncture, further affecting the shape of the wake shed by the tyre behind it.

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