Williams eyeing fresh start

Williams eyeing fresh start

Former world champions Williams presented their new car on Tuesday and declared a fresh start after enduring their worst season in Formula One.

Waiting to make a name : Williams drivers Bruno Senna (right) and Pastor Maldonado pose next to the FW34 car that was unveiled in Jerez on Tuesday. reuters

A Renault engine has taken the place of last year's Cosworth, Brazilian Bruno Senna has ousted veteran compatriot Rubens Barrichello and a new technical line-up is in charge following the departures of Sam Michael and Patrick Head.

The dark-blue-and-white FW34 that was rolled out of the garage without fanfare on a chilly morning before the first pre-season test was without doubt the least attractive Williams since the 'Walrus-nosed' FW26 of 2004.

It featured the by-now conventional stepped nose that has appeared on all the 2012 cars with the exception of McLaren.

Williams, who scored just five points last year with Barrichello and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, will not care how it looks so long as it is quicker and more reliable than its predecessor.
“One could say that looking at the Williams F1 Team today we are off to a truly fresh start,” said team founder Frank Williams in a statement.

“We have a new car, new driver line up, new engine and new senior personnel. We also have a number of new partners who have joined the team in the past few months.

“The team has had a good winter at the factory and we feel ready and strong for the fight.”

While the Renault engine is the same as that used by champions Red Bull, it is also identical to the one powering Caterham, the former Team Lotus who have yet to score a point.

The roll-out was a novelty for Senna, who scored two points and started the final eight races of 2011 with Renault. He made his F1 debut in 2010 with struggling HRT, who did not have a car ready to test that year.

“This is my ever first pre-season testing programme since I started in Formula One two years ago,” said the Brazilian.

“I'm really motivated and looking forward to working hard and with everyone in the team. I hope we have a successful month testing and developing the car so we arrive in Melbourne as well prepared as possible.”

Melbourne hosts the opening grand prix of the season on March 18.

Bahrain concerns

Formula One teams are concerned about the situation in Bahrain but will leave the decision on whether to race there in April to the sport's governing body and commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, bosses said on Monday.

Last year's grand prix at the Sakhir circuit was postponed and then cancelled due to pro-democracy protests that triggered a bloody crackdown.

Clashes have continued regularly since then, with activists saying more than 60 people have died since the unrest started, and have worsened in recent weeks as the February 14 anniversary approaches.

“Like everyone, including the FIA and the commercial rights holder, we are concerned about the situation,” said Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn at the launch of the Swiss team's new car before the first pre-season test in southern Spain.

“We, as the Sauber F1 team, are not in a position to judge that very well, so we have to trust in the FIA and the commercial rights holder who have the call on this.

“If they think it is the right thing to go then we will definitely go there,” she added.