New Williams nose stands out

The most startling aspect of the design of Williams' new Formula 1 challenger, the FW26, has to be its radical new nose section

New Williams nose stands out

The car features a short nose cone, with the front wing's main plane mounted on extended 'tusks'. It also features a twin keel monocoque design, the first time Williams has gone down this route which has been used by Sauber among others. Its sidepods are also much narrower, enabled by a revised cooling packaging.

Chief designer, Gavin Fisher said: "It will be immediately evident to onlookers that a high degree of innovative design has gone into the FW26. There has been a great deal of anticipation on our part about this new car. It has challenged us throughout its development and there is certainly a sense that today is a more significant launch day than in previous years."

The aerodynamics have been conceived under the supervision of the chief aerodynamicist, Antonia Terzi. Technical director Patrick Head said that while the car might not look the prettiest F1 chassis produced by Williams, its aim is that the car is highly effective.

"It is not a styling exercise," said Head of the nose section. "We have eliminated part of the nose above the front wing. It allows more freedom for the airflow. It is to minimise drag and increase downforce. You have to maximise every part of the package to win in F1. Once the concept was established, the biggest work was to satisfy the crash test requirements."

On the subject of the twin keel, he added: "It's something that we've looked at for a while. The advantage was there, but it was small. We've come to the conclusion that it's a good thing to do."

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