Williams to trial experimental F1 front wing design at Japanese GP

Williams is poised to trial an experimental front wing in practice for the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix as it assesses its aerodynamic options for next year's Formula 1 season

Williams to trial experimental F1 front wing design at Japanese GP

The team had previously stated that the design of its 2020 car would be an evolution of this year's FW42, before F1 evolves into a new ground-effect aero ruleset in '21.

For this year's ruleset, varying front wing philosophies have been deployed by the teams, without the usual pattern of convergence seen in F1 aerodynamic development.

Williams' senior race engineer Dave Robson describes the new wing as an "experiment", and it is expected to look visually different, which suggests a change in the team's concept.

"Hopefully there will be a test front wing [at Suzuka] that should look a little bit different," he said.

"If we get it there, and we run it on the Friday, you'll soon spot that. It's kind of an experiment.

"It's hard to know [what the best concept is], that's part of the experiment; it's interesting even now, when you look at the pitlane as the cars come out and there's a couple of different distinct schools of thought in the front wing design.

"Even almost a year on, it's not like everyone's snapped to the same design, so there's a few different ideas and concepts out there.

"It's an experiment for us and we'll see how it goes; hopefully it'll correlate well with what we expect and use that as the basis going into next year.

"You're still getting around doing the best job we can with the new rules to try and control the front tyre wake as it passes further down the back of the car.

"Everyone's doing the same thing but in different ways, and that's about getting that dirty air out of the way. It's just another slightly different way of doing that."

When asked by Autosport if the new wing might remain on the car for the rest of the season, Robson hinted that it may do so if it delivers the results expected.

"It might do, but we're not assuming that at the moment, it's very much part of the R&D for next year at this stage," he said. "But we'll see how it performs."

So far in 2019, Williams's developments for its front wing have been minimal, as it has retained the machete-shaped wing elements throughout the year.

But the team has updated its endplate, opting for a smaller, more rectangular cutout in the upper trailing edge corner to assist with the direction of outwashing air.

Further Williams updates appear to be in the pipeline for the rest of 2019, although it is currently unknown what these may be.

"There's a few more bits and pieces," said Robson.

"Some things that might stay on the car for the rest of the season if they're better, other things that are just more R&D-type work and finalising the aero plans for next year - and checking correlation back to the tunnel again."

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