New-look Williams hails 'fresh start' for 2012
Updated: February 07, 2012, 06:56
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LONDON(AP) With an overhauled car and a new driver, Williams hailed a "fresh start'' Tuesday as the team looks to bounce back from its worst season in Formula One.
The British-based team allowed a sneak peek of its new FW34 at preseason testing in Jerez, Spain, with the car designed by new technical director Mike Coughlan having fewer than 5 percent of the parts from last year's car and also a new engine supplier in Renault.
With Bruno Senna replacing Rubens Barrichello as the new partner of Pastor Maldonado, team principal Frank Williams is confident of improving on the five points earned in 2011.
"We have a new car, new driver lineup, new engine and new senior personnel,'' Williams said. "The team has had a good winter at the factory and we feel ready and strong for the fight.''
Williams dominated F1 in the 1980s and '90s, winning nine constructors' championships and seven drivers' titles.
During that period, Renault was used as Williams' engine between 1989-97 and the team hopes that reverting back to the French manufacturer will offer better "drivability, flexibility and durability.''
The arrival of Senna - the nephew of three-time world champion Ayrton Senna - has also rejuvenated Williams, with the 28-year-old Brazilian embarking on his first preseason testing since starting Formula One two years ago.
"I'm really motivated and looking forward to working hard and with everyone in the team,'' said Senna, who scored two points driving for Renault last year. "I hope we have a successful month testing and developing the car so we arrive in Melbourne (the season's first race on March 18) as well prepared as possible.''
Senna will have his first drive in the FW34, which is dark blue and white and has a revised nose to fit F1's new rule changes, on Thursday.
Maldonado, who is from Venezuela, is testing on Tuesday and Wednesday.