First images released of the new Williams Mercedes FW36

Williams Mercedes FW36

Press Release: Williams today released the first images of its 2014 challenger: the Williams Mercedes FW36. The FW36 is one of the most technologically advanced Formula 1 cars produced by Williams. It is the culmination of more than two years of research and development by the team’s technical departments in Grove and it incorporates the power unit from the team’s new partner, Mercedes-Benz.

“There’s a lot more technology on the cars this year,” says Williams Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds. “We’ve had turbo-charged engines in F1 before; what’s different this time is that it is much more than just an engine change, it is a completely different system. We’ve gone from a slightly hybridised normally aspirated engine to a fully integrated hybrid power unit with novel technology at its heart.”

To meet the challenges of the new Power Unit, Williams signed the deal with Mercedes Benz High Performance Powertrains midway through last season. The team received the first CAD (Computer-Aided Design) data for the power unit at the end of May, at which point the detailed design of the FW36 could begin to be finalised.

Williams Mercedes FW36

“This is the first time that Williams has worked with Mercedes in F1 and we’ve been very impressed,” says Symonds. “Their professionalism and commitment have been notable and we’re as confident as we can be that the PU will be competitive.”

The design phase of the FW36 was completed by mid-September, by which time the team had found solutions to the major challenges presented by the regulations. Cooling, weight, a new gearbox and aerodynamic changes are just some of the areas of focus.

“Overall the cars will need more cooling this year,” says Symonds. “The demands on water and oil cooling may be slightly diminished, but the ERS system is significantly more powerful and hence needs more cooling. We also have to cool the charge air from the turbocharger compressor which requires a substantial intercooler.”

The FW36’s gearbox ran on the dyno for the first time at the beginning of November, before running with the full power unit several weeks later. It’s the first eight-speed gearbox in Williams’ history.

Williams FW36 side

“We finished the gearbox relatively early,” says Symonds. “It’s completed a lot of running on the test rig and at Mercedes HPP in Brixworth, but you can’t take reliability for granted. It’s a completely new ‘box and it has to cope with a lot more torque than was the case with the V8.”

The weight of the car, when combined with the FIA’s ever more stringent crash tests, has been another challenge of the 2014 rules. But the FW36 was one of the first cars to pass its crash tests prior to Christmas.

“The build of the new car has gone remarkably smoothly,” says Symonds. “But it’s been a challenge to get the car down to the weight limit. It’s been achievable, but it hasn’t been easy because the new power unit is heavier than the outgoing V8.”

Pat Symonds

Pat Symonds

The launch-spec aerodynamic package was finalised in the first week of December, with an upgrade package for Melbourne’s season-opener signed off in early January.

“F1 is still going to be an aerodynamic formula in 2014,” says Symonds. “There are some significant changes: the nose is lower than last year and the front wing is narrower, which means the end plates are now more shrouded by the front tyre. The rear wing isn’t as deep as last year and the beam wing below it is no longer permitted, and we’ve also lost the ability to use the exhaust to enhance aero performance.”

Until the car begins testing next week the team won’t know how its design solutions will translate onto the track, but Symonds is confident that Williams has done enough to move up the grid after a disappointing 2013 season.

“I’m confident that we’ll be closer to the front aerodynamically than we were last year,” says Symonds. “Our ambition for the year ahead is to have a strong 2014 season.”

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  • NomadLand

    Oh my……how ugly these cars are.

  • Tamburello_1994

    Its got a Sesame Street nose – OMG!!

    Bert and Ernie would be really proud :)

  • Williams is known for ugly cars

    Williams is known for building cars. The teams that make the tips small are choosing to do that. One picture from a team who is known for building ugly cars does not mean all the cars will be ugly. The choice of color in that drawing is bad. I am betting the Force India car will look good from the real photo they put out.

    From the looks of the Williams drawing they are building another dog of a car.

    Another thing that hurts Williams is they change engine manufactures ever time you turn around. Maybe the engines have not been the problem at Williams but rather poorly designed cars.

    Williams will once again be a backer marker team and may not score a single point in 2014. They might even finish dead last.

  • Hugo

    Fugly. I hope F1 loses a lot of fans and stop making dumbass rules.

  • Spartacus

    I think we should appreciate that the new nose is designed to prevent cars from mounting the one in front. Although how that will stop it going under the one in front instead they don’t say!

    Once the cars are on track racing they’ll all be beautiful things.

  • Matthew

    That williams needs to zip up its pants, its D!&% is hanging out! Sorry… I couldnt resist.

  • Bob

    I just do not understand why they cannot come up with regulations that generally steers towards nice looking cars. Given the financial troubles many teams have, they should at least have cars that look decent. What sponsor would like to have their name on that nose cone? Ugly cars two years in a row… Come on FIA. Get someone to do a proper nose job!

  • Krunksoft

    I don’t see anything wrong with the car personally. Besides, it’s not a beauty contest, is it?? I’ve seen some ugly F1 cars throughout the history of the sport. This doesn’t even come close to the ugliest. I’m more concerned with how the power units perform.

  • StevetheGreat

    Remember i said “penis nose” first.

  • Ed

    Incredibly ugly. The first of the penisnoses.

  • Ed

    Male genitalia-nose #1

  • Ed

    Unbelievably ugly.

    Anyone that denies that has absolutely 0 aesthetic cognition skills.

  • Krunksoft

    And anyone who constantly complains about things that don’t matter at the end of the day really needs to evaluate his/her priorities.

  • Krunksoft

    If these new power units are rubbish who cares how the cars look?

  • Anna

    So are we going to have a “nose” measuring contest on the grid in Melbourne?

  • Krunksoft

    Longest nose loses?

  • Taskmaster

    I wonder why the new turbo cars are still using the intake snorkel. Seems an opportunity to lose the periscope to make way for air to the rear wing, since the air intake can now be anywhere (turbo’s don’t need ram air, only unrestricted airflow.) The nose is a mess, but high nose F1 cars have been fuugly for several years now, as the regs create smaller and smaller boxes for the designers to work within. Definitely a result of design-by-rules-committee. Compared to some past beauties, like the Eagle Weslake, Ferrari 412T1a, McLaren MP4/6, or the Footwork Arrows FA13, current F1 cars are a pretty homely lot and getting worse with each new pass of the rules wand.

  • Eevel

    @Taskmaster – the regulations say the intake needs to be there, otherwise most teams would opt to put them in the sidepods

  • Taskmaster

    Actually, the regs allow two intake positions above 200mm from the reference plane, visible from the front, with cross sections normal to the car centerline, between to cockpit and 500mm from the rear axle center. Seems to indicate other configuration than the existing snorkel is possible, lower than the one now in use, perhaps to either side of the driver in stead of over his head. May not be an advantage, but is possible… perhaps similar to the split intake Mercedes tried a couple seasons back…

  • Jim

    Yeah the most beautiful F1 car was the Mclaren MP4/8.

    If only we could have something that is like a modernized version of that.

    These 2014 noses are beyond ridicule.

  • Tamburello_1994

    The Jordan 191.

  • gorgonzola

    Love how people where moaning last year how ugly the cars are…. wellllll thereee you go…

    Last years cars are Mona Lisa’s compared to this horridness.

  • Boycottthebull

    Bob asked who would ever considering putting their sponsorship logo on the nose of that thing? Trojan Condoms?