Williams Behind Schedule But On Track For Bahrain Shakedown

Williams Keeping 2024 Car A Secret
Williams Keeping 2024 Car A Secret

The Williams team’s challenger for the 2024 Formula 1 season has yet to be unveiled to the public or make its first appearance on the track. The car that was ‘unveiled’ during the launch earlier this month was actually last year’s model, now sporting the new livery for 2024. James Vowles, the team principal, has conceded that he had to cancel the planned initial ‘shakedown’ run of the new Mercedes-powered FW46 to give his team more time to work on the car in the factory.

“What we are doing with the car is pushing everything to the limits,” Vowles said. “The chassis technology is different, some of the other technologies are quite different to what we’ve done before.

“Those changes are enormous for an organisation, absolutely enormous.”

He admits that the challenge pushed Williams “beyond where we wanted to be” and put the team behind schedule, having taken “an enormous amount of risk” to implement the big changes.

“There’s no doubt about it – having the car where we have it now, it is late – and you’ll see it in Bahrain,” Vowles added.

However, he denied that the decision to cancel the planned and booked shakedown run at Silverstone – technically a “filming day” that every team is entitled to outside other test restrictions – was because the car is simply not ready to fire up.

“We could easily have run down there,” said Vowles, “but I much preferred spending the time dedicated to the virtual test and then we’ll shake it down in Bahrain.

“So a bit of it is we’ve pushed ourselves to the absolute limits, a bit of it is I believe far more in doing other testing and then use Bahrain as the opportunity to get started.”

There are only three days of official pre-season testing this year, all taking place in Bahrain from Wednesday this week.

Contradicting Vowles’ view that Williams still has enough time to get up to speed, Fernando Alonso last week hit out at F1’s “unfair” winter testing schedule.

“I’ve been thinking all winter about this, how unfair it is that we only have one day and a half to prepare for a world championship,” said the Aston Martin driver.

“When there are three days, which is an odd number, you cannot divide properly between the drivers,” Alonso added. “And I don’t know why we don’t go with two cars. Because we are already in Bahrain and we race the following week.”

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