FEBRUARY 3, 1997
Patrick Head on the FW19
THE new Williams-Renault FW19 very much follows the design philosophy of the FW17 and FW18.
"The chassis itself is a bit better than last year. We have worked to make it lighter and simpler to work with. We took on a couple of new aerodynamicists after we lost Egbahl Hamidy to Stewart at the start of last year. They worked on the FW19 project with Adrian Newey. Since his departure the chief aerodynamicist has been Geoff Willis.
"The program was delayed for probably a couple of weeks in the middle of last season because in April we moved our half-scale windtunnel from the old Williams factory in Didcot to our new facility in Grove. The tunnel had to be put back together again and it look a little bit longer to re-commission than we had anticipated it would.
"We did a lot of aerodynamic work with the engine air intake. Quite a lot of people last year had problems with this - the air getting to engine was disrupted by the driver's helmet and that cost horsepower. The Ferrari drivers, for example, had to drive with their heads to one side - so we spent a bit of time studying that and we have produced a quite different solution to the problem. It is visibly different and we think it is much more effective.
"The other area where we did a lot aerodynamic work was with the winglets at the rear of the car. Having to take these off reduced the performance of the car quite a bit because the winglets we used last year were actually super-efficient, because of the interaction of vortices with the rear wing. Having to lower these has reduced the performance of the car and we have been trying to find ways to get that performance back.
"From a structural point of view it was also very interesting to have to integrate a rear impact structure - to take into account the new regulations - into the car. The chassis has to be able to absorb the same impact (780kg at 12 meters per second) as the nose. That is a pretty major change, having to build something which can absorb such an impact without being able to build such a considerable structure as the nose. It was a very interesting exercise."