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Williams reveal blue livery for 2022 and shake down car at Silverstone; Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi will drive the FW44 this season, kickstarting a new era after George Russell’s move to Mercedes
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 15/02/22 7:20pm
Williams have hit the track in their new Formula 1 2022 car, giving the FW44 its maiden run and fans a look at their ‘real’ design.
At their official launch, Williams only revealed their new livery on a show car – much like Red Bull did last week – although later on Tuesday, Nicholas Latifi drove a much different-looking machine at a sodden Silverstone.
They are the second team to shakedown their new car, after Aston Martin.
Williams, one of F1’s most famous and historic manufacturers, are looking to maximise the much-changed rules to leap up the order this year after an improved eighth-placed finish in 2021, and start the new season with a new driver in Alex Albon after George Russell’s move to Mercedes.
Albon and team-mate Latifi were both present as the sport’s 16-time world champions became the sixth team to launch their season, with an updated blue colour scheme kicking off a new F1 era with a nod to their past.
The car has different shades of blue in a diamond design, as well as dashes of red to highlight their British history.
The FW44, as always, takes the initials of their legendary founder Sir Frank Williams.
“If it’s as fast as it looks, that will be very, very good,” said team boss Jost Capito. The team added that it ’embodies the exciting new era of the Williams brand, whilst still retaining the classic team spirit’
After three seasons at the bottom of F1 standings in 10th – during which they scored a combined eight points – Williams rebounded back to eighth last year.
Their final tally of 23 points was aided immensely by back-to-back double points finishes in Hungary and Belgium, and it was in Spa where they scored their first podium in six years as Russell was classified as second in a Grand Prix that was abandoned due to the rain.
With Russell replacing Valtteri Bottas after three years at Williams to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, Albon steps into his shoes and will be expected to lead the team into a new era.
Albon has two F1 seasons under his belt, one and a half of which alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull, scoring two podiums before he was axed in favour of Sergio Perez at the end of the 2020 season.
“We don’t have many days before our first race and so we quickly need to understand which areas of the car are strong and where we need to make improvements,” said Albon, whose team-mate Latifi has scored seven points in two seasons.
“I’m sure it will be a little bit of a learning curve as we all try to learn how to get the most out of the new regulations, but the objectives and the way that we focus on this car is very much the same as in previous years.”
Williams will hope their Mercedes-powered FW44 gives them a better chance of consistently fighting for the top-10, let alone making it through Q1 in qualifying.
The first three-day pre-season test starts on February 23 in Barcelona, before another in Bahrain on March 10. The season then gets underway with the Bahrain GP on March 20.