Williams’ drivers Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado revealed their challenger for the 2012 season, the FW34, in Jerez yesterday.
The former World Champions are hoping to recover lost ground following a disastrous season last time out, which left the Grove team lingering a distant 9th in the Constructors’ Championship.
With former-McLaren man Mike Coughlan returning to the sport as Technical Director following a three year ban, Williams will be determined to climb back up the order.
It has brought a change of direction for the Grove squad, who are carrying over only five per cent of the parts designed for last year’s FW33 machine; however by the time the field reaches Melbourne, this number may decrease further.
Chief Operations Engineer, Mark Gillan, is confident Williams can make a significant step forward.
“We are really looking forward to this season and from a personal perspective I can’t wait to get the FW34 on to the race track. The factory has worked extremely hard over the winter to ensure that the car met its design, build and rig test targets and we start testing with the car prepared to a high standard.”
Renault are also returning to the Williams stable as engine suppliers; something Gillan believes may help the squad in the short term; however the Briton is also realistic of the challenges ahead.
“We’ve worked in close co-operation with all of our partners (…) including Renault Sport F1. In the run-up to Australia, we will be working hard to ensure that we maximise and unlock the full potential of the FW34.
“It is imperative that we demonstrate a continuous improvement in our performance and deliver results throughout the season.”
The original partnership spanned from 1989 to 1997, earning the team several Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles with Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve at the wheel.
Although it is rather unlikely that either Senna or Maldonado will deliver the success of their predecessors, the pairing will, at the very least, be aiming for a respectable year.
Despite the turbulence of 2011, Maldonado is confident of what can be achieved in the year ahead.
“It will be very important that we develop the car from the start of the season to the end. Now that I have a year’s experience, I can help in that area much more now.
“We have many new components in the team so we will need to be focussed and work together well so that we may be stronger every day.”