AT&T Williams FW32

The 2009 Williams FW31 began the year with great promise, an innovative car with a controversial double-deck diffuser under the rear suspension links and a snowplow-like venturi section betwixt the fronts.  Driven by Nico Rosberg (now at Mercedes GP) and Kazuki Nakajima (now without a drive — Campos Meta could do worse) and powered by a Toyota engine, it was fast in qualifying but lacked race pace, propelling Williams to a disappointing 8th overall in the Constructors’ standings.

Now that Toyota have sulked off to build mediocre passenger cars, Williams designers Patrick Head and Sam Michael started with a clean sheet of paper and the Cosworth CA2010 powerplant, and put together a new car for their new driver lineup of Rubens Barrichello and (former test driver and GP2 champ) Niko Hulkenberg.  The result, unveiled with little fanfare at the first Valencia test day, is the FW32:

That’s actually a spy shot of the car in a shakedown run at Silverstone

Once again we note a common theme of  high nose, undercut sidepods, and tightly-packaged rear.  The front diffuser from last year has migrated to the MP4-25, but there’s something just as interesting hiding behind the right front in the above photo:

Yep, it’s a Brawn GP-like splitter-mounted deflector.  Presumably this creates a big whack of pressure atop the front of the splitter, giving the FW32 some of its front downforce back and directing air into the underbody.  There’s just a hint of Newey vee-section on the nose above the forward suspension pickups; since the splitter-plow above began its service on a low-nosed BGP01 I suspect that a lot of wind tunnel and CFD effort went into making sure that the front end would feed it properly.  Here’s another shot of the front end:

The whisker-mounted camera pods look a bit comical, but probably offer some beneficial interaction with the front suspension.  The steering links aren’t mounted inline with either the top or bottom wishbones, so I imagine they serve some aerodynamic purpose as well.  Once again we see F60-like outboard mirror mounts, with only a slight amount of dihedral angle on the side pods (compared to the F10 and the Sauber C29, at least), and a very compact engine cover that seems to consist of (a) an airbox and (b) empty space.

Barely visible in the above and the first photo are stepped bargeboards, which were almost universally popular in 2008 but disappeared with the new aero regulations in 2009.  I’m guessing that the notches create vortices to control airflow along the sidepods, preventing outside air from slipping under the floor or into the channel between the transmission cover and the rear wheels.

Rubens Barrichello has been posting fairly dismal times in the Valencia tests, but isn’t worried: with a brand-new engine and transmission, I’m not surprised that he’s taking things pretty slowly to see how the Coz shakes out.  The first real comparison of the new cars will be qualifying on March 13th.

Not even forty days ’til Bahrain!


2 Responses to “AT&T Williams FW32”

  1. July 17, 2014 at 11:39

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
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    such information a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a very long
    time. Thank you and good luck.

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