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Williams unveils the new FW17

Williams Grand Prix Engineering last week unveiled its purposeful-looking new chassis, designed by Adrian Newey and Patrick Head and their team of design engineers at Didcot.

The car continues the design philosophy from the hugely successful FW14/15/16 family but features some notable changes. Particularly interesting is the decision to adopt the high nose used by Benetton last year. Patrick Head said that he felt that the new regulations meant that this offered a slight advantage over the traditional Williams nose.

Damon Hill and David Coulthard are both delighted by the new car which will be first in which the lanky pair will fit easily, without having to bang their elbows on the cockpit surrounds. This change in the regulations may result in better performances this year from F1's taller drivers who have spent their entire careers cooped up in cars which were too small for them.

After the launch the Williams team did systems checks at Silverstone before the prototype chassis was dispatched to Estoril for testing. The team will remain in Portugal for the next fortnight, a second car being freighted out to join the testing as soon as it is finished.

Williams took the opportunity of the launch to announce additional sponsorship from Andersen Consulting, the world's leading management and technology consultancy. The company will be helping Williams relocate to its new headquarters at the end of the year.

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