Williams latest F1 team to tweak livery to save weight

Williams says a tweaked livery it introduced in Australia was the result of a weight-saving push it is making with its FW44 Formula 1 car.

Marshals assist Alex Albon, Williams FW44, after a breakdown in Qualifying

Most F1 teams are struggling this year to hit the increased 798kg weight limit that has been introduced, with extra bulk triggered by new safety requirements and the shift to 18-inch wheels.

As Autosport reported at the start of the year, a number of teams have been forced to go to extremes in a bid to try to save weight because they fear they are giving away too much lap time.

Aston Martin revealed that it had removed green painted areas of its car to save around 350g, with McLaren also stripping back orange paint from its airbox for the first race of the season.

Now Williams has joined the group of teams that are running large areas of their car in raw carbon fibre, after stripping down some painted areas around the sidepods and airbox that were previously in dark blue or gloss black.

The Grove-based team’s head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, said that it was quite a tough task for everyone to get near the weight limit this year.

“You'd always like the car to be lighter and I don't know how obvious it is, but the paint scheme is different,” he said about the changes introduced in Melbourne.

“That is in part about lowering the weight of the paint on the car.

"I don't know where we fit in the overweight category up and down pitlane, it's very hard to know, but it is absolutely a challenge on these cars to get them below the weight. It's something else we can continue to work on.”

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Photo by: Williams

Williams scored its first point of the season at the Australian Grand Prix, as Alex Albon pulled off a brilliant long-stint on the hards to bring his car home 10th after a last-lap tyre change.

Robson says that the main thing holding Williams back at the moment is in finding a good balance with the car.

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“There are a couple of limitations,” he said.

“There has been one consistent theme with the balance, that the drivers have been vocal about and we've been chipping away at that since we arrived in Bahrain for the test.

“We've definitely made some progress, and there's a few new components in the pipeline that should help that. So there's a little bit of that to sort out.

“In terms of the ride height and the set-up and the porpoising, I think we're getting pretty close to be able to operate it in the right kind of window now.

"If we get it a little bit wrong, we risk damaging the floor, so that's probably our limit. But we are pretty close to where we want to run it.

“And I think the rest of it, apart from that one little balance issue we're trying to sort out, we just need a little bit more load, really, to help get the tyres in the window and make us quicker everywhere.”

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