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Nico Rosberg 30 years old. Mercedes GP Petronas #6
2º in WDC. 322 points.
Best '15 position: 1º
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Jan 19, 2009

Williams presenta el FW31,The new FW31, Premiers tours de roue de la Williams FW31


Esta mañana el equipo Williams ha presentado su último monoplaza, el FW31 con motor Toyota.

El coche del 2009 ha sido mostrado por primera vez en público esta mañana en el circuito del Algarve, donde la escudería de Grove ha iniciado un test de cuatro jornadas de entrenamientos.

Tras completar esta mañana 17 vueltas a los mandos del nuevo FW31, el piloto probador del equipo Williams, Nico Hulkenberg, se mostraba satisfecho con los progresos iniciales con el monoplaza.

El Director Técnico de Williams, Sam Michael, decía: "Esta mañana la pista estaba muy mojada, pero la climatología en realidad no ha afectado al trabajo que teníamos previsto, ya que nuestro objetivo era poner el coche en pista, revisar los sistemas y nada más. Eso sí, sería bueno rodar algo más sobre seco, y según las previsiones meteorológicas para lo que resta de semana parece que podremos hacerlo. En cuanto a las primeras impresiones del coche, evidentemente hoy no hemos tenido tiempo de trabajar en la puesta a punto o su rendimiento, pero hasta ahora todo bien."

El Williams-Toyota FW31 es quizás el coche que ha partido más de cero de los 30 años de historia del equipo debido a los enormes cambios introducidos en la reglamentación técnica y deportiva.


Las nuevas regulaciones deportivas persiguen incrementar la fiabilidad del coche y reducir los costes, mientras que los cambios en la reglamentación técnica busca tres aspectos: reducir la influencia de la aerodinámica en el rendimiento del coche, facilitar los adelantamientos y controlar los tiempos por vuelta.

Michael valoraba: "Los cambios en las regulaciones aerodinámicas son los más profundos y los que mayor impacto tendrán en el tiempo por vuelta. Hay muchos cambios visuales que se aprecian a simple vista, pero también pequeñas reducciones en diferentes partes del coche. Empezando por la parte delantera del monoplaza, el diseño del alerón delantero ha sido modificado y es completamente distinto. Las aletas han desaparecido, mientras que en la cubierta del motor ya no aparece la tradicional chimenea, lo que ha provocado que las salidas de aire sean más altas y anchas para mejorar la salida del aire caliente. Por supuesto, el regreso de los neumáticos lisos supone otro cambio importante, ya que también influyen en la aerodinámica global del coche. Y finalmente también está la introducción del sistema KERS, otra novedad técnica para este año."


Michael proseguía: "La aerodinámica será probablemente la clave en los dos primeros tercios de la temporada," indicaba, aunque también reconocía que el regreso de los neumáticos lisos será otro cambio significativo en 2009. "Encontrar la óptima distribución del peso para optimizar el rendimiento de los neumáticos también será una de las grandes prioridades en 2009. El KERS será otro elemento que contribuirá a mejorar el rendimiento," confirmaba Michael.

La introducción del KERS en 2009 no es obligatoria, pero sí podría significar una oportunidad para que los equipos pudieran ganar una ventaja en rendimiento.

Michael explicaba al respecto: "El KERS en 2009 podría aportar entre dos y tres décimas por vuelta. Sin embargo, al combinarlo con el rendimiento aerodinámico, el KERS podría convertirse en un elemento importante diferenciador de rendimiento y si la regulación lo permite, el KERS podría llegar a dar hasta un segundo por vuelta. La decisión clave será equilibrar cuidadosamente la ventaja de rendimiento que pueda ofrecer el KERS con nuestro objetivo de mejorar la fiabilidad respecto a la pasada temporada."

Nico Hulkenberg, el primer piloto que ha rodado al volante del FW31, se ha sentido confiado con el coche, pero naturalmente destacaba la diferencia que existe con los coches anteriores.

"El coche se ha comportado bien desde el principio, me he sentido cómodo al volante y para ser un coche nuevo, la mañana ha sido muy buena, sin problemas técnicos, lo cual es importante. Por supuesto todos queremos saber cuanto antes cual será su rendimiento en comparación con el monoplaza del 2008 y qué impacto han tenido los cambios en la normativa desde el punto de vista del piloto. En realidad, aún no puedo explicar demasiado tras las pocas vueltas que he dado, ya que el circuito es nuevo para mí y además la pista estaba mojada, así que no hay base para la comparación. Si hubiésemos rodado en Jerez o en Barcelona sobre seco, entonces sí podríamos hacernos una idea. Pero lo más importante para hoy era asegurarnos de que todos los sistemas básicos del coche responden y confirmar que todo funciona correctamente. Y así ha sido, así que podemos estar contentos."
***********************

This morning Williams unveiled its latest challenger, the Toyota-powered FW31. The 2009 car was rolled out in Portugal ahead of the group test that is now underway at the Algarve circuit.

After completing 17 laps this morning in the hands of Williams’ test driver, Nico Hulkenberg, the team was satisfied with initial progress.

Technical Director, Sam Michael, said: “This morning has been full wet, but the weather hasn’t really affected what we wanted to do, because our goal has been to get the car out on track, check all the systems work, be sure parts aren’t touching each other, nothing is burning, and that’s all proved to be okay. It would be good to get some dry running, and the weather should allow this later in the week. In terms of first impressions of the car, we of course haven’t spent any time on set-up or performance work yet, that’ll all come later, but so far the car is running fine.”

The Williams-Toyota FW31 is the first major clean-sheet car design for perhaps 30 years, driven by a wholesale change in Sporting and Technical Regulations.

The new Sporting Regulations are intended to increase car reliability and further reduce costs, while the changes to the Technical Regulations have three objectives – reducing the role of aerodynamics in the car’s performance, making overtaking easier and keeping lap times in check.

These changes have had significant implications both on the appearance of this season’s race car and in shifting its performance baseline.

Michael reflected, “The changes in the aerodynamic regulations are the most profound and will have the most impact on lap time. There are many immediate visual changes, but also many smaller reductions around the car through new regulation wording and exclusion zones. Starting at the front, the front wing end plate design has changed as the interaction with the front tyre is completely different, and important to control. There are no longer large barge boards – although we managed to squeeze a small one in. The engine cover no longer has the traditional chimneys and louvers on top for cooling, and that has forced a higher and wider exit at the rear in order to provide an effective exit for hot air. Of course the re-introduction of slick tyres is another significant change as it has an influence on the overall dynamics of the race car. Finally, of course, the introduction of KERS is another aspect to the technical picture for the year ahead.”


Michael went on to explain how the changes in aerodynamic rules, which see a much reduced rear wing geometry and conversely, a considerably wider front wing profile, with the front wing flap angle adjustable by the driver in the cockpit, would be the competitive focus for all the teams for much of the year ahead. “Aerodynamics is likely to be the key to the first two thirds of the season ahead,” he said, while rating the change to slick tyres as another significant rule change for 2009. “Finding the optimum weight distribution to optimise tyre performance will also be a high priority going into 2009 and KERS will be the next contributor to race performance." Michael confirmed.

The introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) in 2009 is not an obligatory element of the regulations, but may provide an opportunity for teams to gain competitive advantage.

The amount of energy that can be recovered and used may increase in future regulations, but the level set for the technology’s introductory year, set against considerations of weight and reliability, make the initial advantages less than gains to be achieved through aerodynamics and mechanical dynamics.

Michael contextualised this view, saying, “KERS in 2009 could be worth between two and three tenths of a second per lap. However, once aero performance converges, KERS could start to become a greater performance differentiator and if the regulations give more scope to the technology, it could be worth anything up to a second a lap and it will be needed to win Grand Prix. The key decision for us with our system is to carefully balance the potential performance advantage with our ambition to improve an already strong reliability record from last season.”

Hulkenberg, the first of the Williams team drivers to experience the FW31 felt confident in the car’s abilities, but naturally reflected on the difference from its predecessors.

“Straight away the new car feels okay, I feel comfortable in it and for a new car, we have also had a trouble-free morning technically, which is important. Of course everyone will want to know how it compares to the 2008 car and what the impact of the rule changes are from a driver’s point of view. In truth, I cannot say too much after a few laps, because the track is 100% new to me, I have never run here and also it is pretty wet, so I have no baseline for comparison – if we were at Jerez or Barcelona in the dry, I could be a little more specific. But the important thing for today is simply to make sure we run through all the checks of the basic systems on the car and confirm everything is working as it should. So far that is the case and we can be happy.”

As the Williams team took to the track in Portimao, the results of its commercial activities over the winter were apparent. The team has renewed or upgraded over ten partners since last summer when Philips confirmed that they were upgrading their partnership with the team. With the whole of Philips’ Consumer Lifestyle division now party to the partnership, Philips’ branding appears on the front-facing rear wing and on the FW31 sidepods.

Dominic Reilly, the team’s Head of Marketing, commented, “Philips has demonstrated, through its excellent track record of sponsorship execution, that their Formula One engagement has made a real difference to the bottom line. As a consequence, Philips have upgraded from the Shaving Division to the whole of its Consumer Lifestyle group. In consideration of this, Philips will have substantially increased livery on the 2009 race car.”

Since announcing this new agreement in late 2008, a further nine agreements with existing partners have been signed, including Allianz, PPG, Oris, MAN and the recent announcement of another upgraded and extended agreement with Randstad, who now become one of the team’s senior partners as confirmed last week.

Adam Parr, Williams Chief Executive said, “We are very grateful for the loyalty and steadiness of purpose of our partners. We never take anything for granted, but our 2009 and 2010 budgets are in place thanks to the support of our partners as well as the increased revenues from FOM and the work being done by FOTA and the FIA to reduce costs. It is now our responsibility to make sure that our partners and the many other people who support the team enjoy a return on that investment.”

Turning to the prospects for 2009, Frank Williams said, “It will be a very interesting year ahead. The new aero rules mean a different approach to the cars in a number if areas. However, by the time we get to Melbourne, I would expect the usual suspects to still be dominating the top two positions. More importantly, I hope Williams will have made a significantly large step forward with the FW31.”

********************************


La nouvelle Williams Toyota FW31, présentée ce matin, a effectué ses premiers tours de roue sur le circuit de Portimao, au Portugal. C'est le jeune Nico Hulkenberg qui avait l'honneur d'effectuer ce premier roulage.

Le pilote d'essai de Williams a bouclé 17 tours ce matin. "Ce matin, la piste était totalement mouillée, mais ces conditions n'ont pas vraiment perturbé notre programme, car notre objectif était seulement de rouler et de contrôler le bon fonctionnement de tous les systèmes - explique Sam Michael, le directeur technique - Toutefois, ce serait bien de faire rouler la voiture sur piste sèche, mais je pense que nous pourrons le faire plus tard cette semaine."

"Pour ce qui est de nos premières impressions sur la voiture, elles sont bonnes. La voiture semble se comporter correctement, mais nous n'avons évidemment pas encore travaillé sur les réglages ou sur la recherche de performance," ajoute l'ingénieur australien.

Sam Michael a identifié les trois secteurs prioritaires pour cette saison 2009. "L'aérodynamique sera la clé pendant les deux premiers tiers de la saison, mais il faudra aussi travailler sur la répartition des masses afin d'optimiser l'utilisation des pneus slicks.
Quant au KERS, il devrait lui aussi grandement contribuer aux performances cette année."

Le système KERS ne sera pas obligatoire cette saison, mais Sam Michael pense qu'il sera indispensable si l'on a comme projet d'être performant...

"Le KERS devrait nous faire gagner deux à trois dixièmes de seconde par tour, mais lorsque les configurations aérodynamiques seront similaires, le KERS pourrait alors devenir le principal différentiateur de performance. A l'avenir, il pourrait même représenter une seconde de mieux par tour et le KERS sera alors indispensable pour gagner un Grand Prix. Le défi qu'il nous faudra relever, c'est d'améliorer les performances de notre système KERS tout en améliorant notre niveau de fiabilité par rapport à l'année dernière," prédit Sam Michael.



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