F1 Car Reveals 2021: Williams FW43B – Does the B-Spec improve on the FW43?

The first car launch for Williams Racing under Dorilton Capital was a less than ideal affair, as the team had to abandon its original plan of revealing the B-spec car through an augmented reality app.

A hack forced the team to pull the app from various app stores. The team will be hoping this doesn’t scupper a badly-needed return to form.

The car debuts in a brand new livery colours allegedly inspired by the title winning FW14B, though this seems to be in choice of colour only, the placement of which is completely reconfigured. Perhaps the prospects are more in line with the Williams legend?

The FW43B

Left: FW43 in Abu Dhabi, Right: FW43B at Launch

At the nose of the car, Williams has again opted for the wide, flat design they have used in previous years. They’ve placed the wing mounting pylons as wide as is allowed, using the thumb tip to maintain the crash regulation legality.

The main plane and cascaded front-wing appear visually identical to the car used in last year’s final race. The abrupt change in angle of attack midway through the top element to produce the inboard loaded design doesn’t initially look as though it has been retained.

It is thought this is due to the render of the b-spec car lacking some detail, and we should see the same design when the full car rolls out in 1 week’s time.

The suspension setup and brake ducts re-appear unchanged, though many teams have been hiding their configurations in their launch renders and no different is expected here. The chassis and S-duct also reappear, though the new cart has lost a set on the front bulkhead just behind the driver numbers.

The caped section under the nose is as before, though the angle of the render appears to make it look longer compared to last year’s car.

As for the sidepods, an optical illusion of fins on the halo are in-fact vents flanking the headrest. Wrapping around the sidepods are a new set of turning vanes for 2021. Marked out by yellow on the leading edge of the vanes is a medium radius turn downwards approaching the floor. This also meets with the side impact spar as all teams move to the high sidepod inlet design as was made popular by Ferrari since 2017.

Left: FW43 in Abu Dhabi, Right: FW43B at Launch

Taking a look at the car from the side we can see the bargeboards are identical to the 2020 car. More interesting is the triple bulge on the engine cover flowing into the sidepods. Being powered by the Mercedes power unit, Williams will have had to accommodate the larger intake plenum on the ’21 spec engine signified by the prominent power bulge on the Mercedes and Aston Martin. Williams have taken a different approach to those teams, moving the engine cover volume higher. Grove have then tapered the sidepods aggressively directly under this, channelling airflow over the lowest of the the three bulges. It is presumed this is to direct high-energy air to the diffuser and reclaim lost downforce from the winter rule changes.

Also visible on the back of the engine cover is a return to a double element t-wing the team opted not to run in the UAE.

In the high 3/4 angle, the new floor design is visible, though this seems very bare in comparison to some teams and is most likely hiding the true floor that will be used and developed throughout the season. The rear wing is also very similar to the previous effort, again to prevent other teams copying Williams effort.

To see how other teams have reacted to the new rule changes, check out our analysis of the new cars from Mercedes, Red Bull, Aston Martin, Alpine, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri before Ferrari launches their car next week.

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