Slight aside, but it’s important

Williams Advanced Engineering has received the Consultancy of the Year award at the 2016 British Engineering Excellence Awards.

Sponsored by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Consultancy of the Year is awarded to an organisation demonstrating innovative and timely solutions to engineering problems posed to them by their customers.

WAE has delivered on a number of high profile projects over the past 12 months, including supplying the batteries to the Formula E racing series, creating the Jaguar C-X75 hypercar for the Bond film SPECTRE, and developing the fully electric Aston Martin RapidE and Nissan BladeGlider concept cars. What’s more, the company has seen its Formula One-inspired technologies and know-how introduced into a growing range of sectors such as automotive, motorsport, energy, defence, and healthcare.

It’s healthy, and only right we acknowledge engineering excellence. Many congratulations to the whole team.

Back to the drawing board for Mr Button

Williams says the partnership of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will be retained for a third season which closes the door on a return of Jenson Button to the team.

Massa joined for 2014 and has so far scored one pole position, at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix, and four podium finishes. Bottas is one of the sport’s most promising talents, with seven podiums to his name in the last two seasons.

Both drivers quickly developed an exceptional working relationship from the beginning of 2014 and, while they remain fiercely competitive as rivals,  you could say they’ve played a pivotal role in the rejuvenation of Williams.

Williams Heritage to showcase at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Williams Heritage, the division of Williams that is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the team’s historical collection of cars, will be attending this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed where it will demonstrate a number of historic and contemporary team assets for the public to view from Friday throughout the weekend.

Williams’ driver Felipe Massa will be in attendance this Saturday 27 June and take to the wheel of a 1990 Williams Renault FW13B to tackle the famous hillclimb course. The team’s Development Driver, Alex Lynn, will be there on Sunday 28 June and also get the chance to drive the FW13B.

On display will be the team’s latest challenger, the Williams Mercedes FW37, in its distinctive Williams livery. An FW13B will be on sale at the Bonhams auction taking place at the Festival on 27 June. The FW13B was raced by Williams in the 1990 season by drivers Thierry Boutsen and Riccardo Patrese, collecting victories at the San Marino and Hungarian Grands Prix.

Speaking about Williams’ presence at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Jonathan Williams of Williams Heritage said: “The Festival is a highlight of the motorsport calendar and is always full of highly knowledgeable and extremely passionate fans. It’s the ideal place to give fans a window into the history of the team and this year we have selected the FW13B to drive up the hill.

“This is the second year in a row that we have run a historic car at the event, with the FW18 making a starring turn last year. Williams Heritage was established with the express aim of showcasing our past racing cars to a new generation of fans and we look forward to doing this at Goodwood once again.”

Sir Frank Williams awarded

Riccardo Cesarini (left) and Sir Frank Williams.

Riccardo Cesarini (left) and Sir Frank Williams with the award.

 

Brembo Performance Group Director, Riccardo Cesarini has presented the Team Principal of Williams Martini Racing with a special award for services to F1. The award is modelled on an F1 car’s braking system.

The Williams name has been synonymous with top-level motorsport since the 1960s, with the foundation in 1966 of Frank Williams Racing Cars and later in 1977, along with Engineer Patrick Head, establishing Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

Williams Martini Racing achieved 16 FIA Formula One World Championships, nine Constructors’ Championships and seven Drivers’ Championships, scoring 114 victories.

Brembo’s award – which you probably haven’t heard about – was initiated in 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Italian company. On that occasion Alberto Bombassei, Brembo Chairman, gave Bernie Ecclestone a braking system personalised with the colour of the Italian flag.

In 2012 the award was given to Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Ferrari Spa Chairman, and 2013 Niki Lauda, non-executive Chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team.

Nice one Frank.

 

Riccardo Cesarini Frank Williams_2 Riccardo Cesarini Frank Williams_3

Williams runs Senna tribute

1994 Formula One World Championship

Since the tragic death of Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Williams has placed the iconic Senna double S logo on its racing cars as a mark of respect.

To commemorate 20 years since his passing and to celebrate his legacy, the Williams Mercedes FW36 will be adorned with the new 20th anniversary Senna logo for the 2014 season.

1994 Brazilian Grand Prix

Traditionally placed on the front wing struts of each Williams car, the new logo will be placed on the left-hand side of the FW36’s nose cone and feature a picture of Ayrton alongside the words “Ayrton Senna Always”.

Designed by the Ayrton Senna Foundation, the logo will be present at a number of events organised by the Foundation this year to honour the life, legacy and values of the three times Formula One World Champion.

Speaking about the updated logo, Williams Founder and Team Principal Sir Frank Williams said:

“I was very close to Ayrton and the iconic double S logo has been a mainstay on our cars since his death 20 years ago. This new logo is our way of celebrating his achievements as a racing driver, and also the sterling work of his Foundation which is doing so much to promote educational opportunities in Brazil.”

1994 Formula One World Championship

Major overhaul at Williams

Well, quite a change in engineering. Half expected Felipe Massa’s race engineer at Ferrari, the celebrated Mr Rob Smedley to reappear at Williams but wasn’t sure in what capacity.

Rob Smedley

Rob Smedley

In interviews Mr S had indicated ‘negotiations’ were in progress but we didn’t really know whether these were for a continued presence within Ferrari or a new position at Grove.

Now we know, and it’s a major leg up for Rob as Head of Vehicle Performance, a newly created position which will strengthen the trackside team whilst also supporting the development work back at the factory to help bring more performance to the car throughout the season. Rob’s proven track record and experience stand him in good stead for the challenges that 2014 bring.

Rob will join Williams before the Bahrain Grand Prix and he’s more than ably supported by race engineers Andrew Murdoch (Felipe Massa) and Jonathan Eddolls (who remains with Valtteri Bottas).

Richard Lockwood completes the trackside operation line-up, joining the team from Marussia as Head of Race Strategy. Richard will work with current strategist Randeep Singh who remains with the team for the 2014 season.

Commenting on the new line-up Chief Technical Officer, Pat Symonds said:

“Williams is undergoing change and these new appointments reflect how high our ambitions are. We have a number of senior people joining us to assist us in the pursuit of those ambitions and I am extremely excited to welcome them on board.

“2014 gives us the biggest change to the technical regulations that I have seen in my career, and so it will be important to add further depth to the talent we already have here as we head into the new season. Williams has always prided itself on engineering excellence and this latest announcement is part of our continued goal to bring success back to the team.”

It certainly is. Quite a change which really could help Williams regain its success. Let’s hope so.

Group CEO Mike O' Driscoll (l) with Pat Symonds

Group CEO Mike O’ Driscoll (l) with Pat Symonds

The new Williams

WF1_FW36_ISO-gallerywide

WF1_FW36_SIDE-gallerywide

 

Williams has released the first images of its 2014 challenger: the Williams Mercedes FW36.

It’s the culmination of two-plus years 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.

Says Chief Technical Officer, Pat Symonds:

“There’s a lot more technology on the cars this year. 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.

This is the first time that Williams has worked with Mercedes in F1.

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.)

Continues Symonds:

“Overall the cars will need more cooling this year. 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.

Says Symonds:

“We finished the gearbox relatively early. 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.”

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.

Adds Symonds:

“F1 is still going to be an aerodynamic formula in 2014. 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 the team won’t know how its design solutions will translate on to 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,” he says. “Our ambition for the year ahead is to have a strong 2014 season.”

Williams F1 to be floated?

Williams chief exec Adam Parr

For some years Sir Frank Williams has been considering how to secure the long-term ownership of his racing organisation such that it will remain true to the aims with which Patrick and he established the team back in 1977. Says Williams:

“My goal then was to race in Formula One as an independent Constructor. This was and is my great passion and I will race for as long as I continue to be blessed with good health. It is also my desire that the team is in good shape to go on racing long after I am gone. To that end, it is prudent and necessary to plan for an ownership structure that will enable Williams to be an independent Constructor, owned and staffed by people committed to Formula One and to the sound business practices which have supported us over three decades.

“I have concluded that the option which will best achieve this is to broaden our shareholder base with public shareholders, while having a stable core of long-term investors closely involved in the running of the team. This will ensure stability, good governance and will, I believe, enable us to attract and retain the best people and partners.

“Patrick, Toto and I are therefore examining this option closely and, if the environment is propitious, we may act in the near future. Regardless of whatever steps we take, I shall remain the majority and controlling shareholder and the Team Principal of AT&T Williams.”

Q&A WITH ADAM PARR – CHAIRMAN, WILLIAMS F1

Q: It sounds like Williams is considering a flotation on the stock exchange. Would that be correct?

ASP: Yes, it would be correct to say that Williams F1 is considering a flotation on the stock exchange. At this stage, all we have concluded is that it is the best way to secure the future of the team and its 450 employees.

Q: What is the timetable?

ASP: As the plan develops we will provide further information.

Q: Is retirement a current consideration for Frank?

ASP: No. Retirement is categorically not on Frank’s agenda. Anyone who knows Frank knows this.

Q: Are there any concerns surrounding Frank’s health?

ASP: No. Frank’s health is absolutely fine.

Q: What other options has the Board investigated?

ASP: We have had many approaches in the past, but none have offered the same benefits as this route.

Q: Toto Wolff invested in the team in November 2009. What is his future role?

ASP: Toto is a non-executive director and a significant shareholder in the company. He has already established himself as an important part of the team and he will play a central role in its future.

Q: If Williams were to go public, what are the implications for the team’s partners and relations with the FIA and FOM?

ASP: The team has always enjoyed honest and open relationships with its partners, the governing body of the sport and the commercial rights-holder. Whether we are a public or private company, this will not change.

Q: Would any flotation involve raising funds for the company?

ASP: No.

Q: Does Williams F1 have the financial track record to support a flotation?

ASP: Yes, we believe we do. The company has always been run on sound financial principles. In spite of the economic environment in recent years, we have turned a profit and generated positive cash-flow from operating activities in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and we have a fully contracted budget for 2011.

%d bloggers like this: