JANUARY 25, 2002

Montoya delight with new BMW engine bodes well for new Williams

It may have been wet, damp and cold at Silverstone today (Friday) for the launch of the new Williams-BMW FW24.

Williams-BMW FW24

IT may have been wet, damp and cold at Silverstone today (Friday) for the launch of the new Williams-BMW FW24, but Juan Pablo Montoya injected some welcome warmth into the proceedings by enthusing over the performance of the new type P82 BMW V10 engine which powers the new challenger from the blue riband British F1 team.

"It is certainly better," he said. In what way? "Better. Much better! A big step forward, in every way of the word that you can say better. The step could be as big as from 2000 to 2001, a big step. That's it, a big step! But I haven't yet tried the new car, of course."

Williams Chief Designer Gavin Fisher described the new FW24 as an evolutionary version of last year's car, emphasizing the fact that there were no major technical rule changes for the 2002 season. "That in itself brings with it the increased challenge to improve on a car which is already in a relatively high state of evolution," he explained. "In many respects it is more stimulating for a designer if the canvass is blank when it comes to starting on the development of the next car. As you progress, the opportunities for improvement are marginalised and increasing amount of effort must be expended for diminishing returns."

Yet the design team at Williams have had to develop and instal a completely new engine, which in turn required the development of a totally new gearbox and associated changes to the remainder of the drive train. Fisher added; "The design work we have done in conjunction with BMW has further optimized the engine installation. As always, we are striving to minimize weight and package volume, providing consequential gains in car dynamics and aero systems efficiency."

Of the 5000 components going into the P82 engine, BMW estimates that 1000 of then are different. All the core components are developed and manufactured at BMW in Munich - such as the cylinder head, crankcase, crankshaft, camshaft and electronic management systems.

BMW Motorsport director Dr. Mario Theissen said; "On circuits where engine performance was the deciding factor, we were a force to be reckoned with in 2001. Defending this status while at the same time improving our reliability are key objectives for 2002." He made the point that in addition to more power and enhanced reliability, the BMW design team had worked hard to reduce the weight at the top of the engine in the interests of optimizing the center of gravity. Williams Technical Director Patrick Head added that he hoped the team would increase its momentum towards an eventual World Championship victory.

"After four commanding victories, four pole positions and eight lap records in our second year together, our expectations for our third season are high," said team principal Frank Williams who also confirmed that Fedex was switching from Ferrari to be one of the team's co-sponsors.

"We have great hopes for our new chassis and the new BMW P82 engine. Beyond that, we've got the strongest team of drivers. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya are different personalities with different driving styles, but their goals are identical."

After a shakedown in the rain at Silverstone the first of the FW24 was despatched to Barcelona where Montoya and Schumacher will test it next week.