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Thursday February 21, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
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Spanking new: Williams’ Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado (left), Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas and British development driver Susie Wolff pose behind the Williams
FW35 Formula One car during its launch before a training session at the Catalunya circuit near Barcelona on Tuesday. — AFP
LONDON: On the same day that Williams rolled out the FW35, they have been told that their new exhaust is illegal.
Frank Williams’ outfit presented a two-part cover above the exhaust exit which is believed to contravene Article 3.8.5 of the FIA’s technical regulations which states that: “Single apertures either side of the car centre line (are permitted) for the purpose of exhaust exits. These apertures may have a combined area of no more than 50,000mm2 when projected onto the surface itself.
“No point on an aperture may be more than 350mm from any other point on the aperture.”
Technical director Mike Coughlan immediately defended his model on Tuesday, suggesting that the covering being in two-parts puts it on the right side of the regulations.
“Ours is OK, because if you look at ours it’s actually not a single piece it’s two pieces. The rule is an aperture size, and ours is an aperture size; ours is one aperture because it’s joined by a small piece in the middle,” explained Coughlan.
“You’re governed by total aperture size, but singular aperture, and ours is a single aperture joined by a very small slot. So it’s actually two pieces, if you look closely you’ll see.”
However, later in the day it was revealed that the FIA had deemed the exhaust illegal.
“The team spoke with the FIA this morning which is when they gave us their view,” said a Williams spokeswoman.
“The team are now seeking further clarification on this and a decision as to whether this design will be carried forward will be made before the first race.”
The iconic British marque returned to the top of the podium for the first time in seven and a half years in 2012 with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado’s win in the Spanish Grand Prix on the Catalunya track.
Maldonado, in his third season with Williams, will be partnered this term by 23-year-old Finn Valtteri Bottas, who has replaced Brazilian Bruno Senna.
Williams said of Bottas, a test driver last season: “Valtteri is quieter but still waters run deep, and he is a highly-gifted driver.”
The 70-year-old Williams still has high hopes for the FW35, saying: “A talented group of people with lots of imagination worked hard to produce the FW35.
“We believe it represents a step forward to last year’s car which was already very competitive.”
He is convinced his team can fight their way back this season to again “challenge the very best”.
The new season starts with the Australian Grand Prix on March 17. — Agencies
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