Williams usher in 'fresh start' ahead of new Formula One season


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The Independent Online

Frank Williams today ushered in "a truly fresh start" for his team as their latest challenger for the new Formula One season was unveiled.

The Grove-based marque did nothing more than push the FW34 out of the garage at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain, wait for a few minutes as photographs were taken, and roll it back in again.

It extremely low key, but then after the worst season in their history last year, Williams are eager to keep things understated.

But as team principal Williams said: "The team has had a good winter at the factory and we feel ready and strong for the fight."

He added: "One could say looking at the Williams F1 Team today we are off to a truly fresh start.

"We have a new car, new driver line up, new engine and new senior personnel. We also have a number of new partners who have joined the team in the past few months.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome them formally and sincerely wish they have an enjoyable and, most importantly, a valuable experience with us."

The new car carries over from last year just five percent of the parts, whilst crucially the team now has a new engine supplier in Renault, reuniting with the French manufacturer who were pivotal to their success throughout the 1990s.

Williams also have a new technical director in Mike Coughlan, as well as a new driver in Bruno Senna, the Brazilian replacing his fellow countryman Rubens Barrichello.

Senna, who drove for Hispania in 2010 and competed in eight grands prix for Renault last year, scoring two points, breaks new ground.

"This is my ever first pre-season testing programme since I started in Formula One two years ago," said Senna.

"I'm really motivated and looking forward to working hard and with everyone in the team.

"I hope we have a successful month testing and developing the car so we arrive in Melbourne (for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix) as well prepared as possible."

Senna will have to wait until Thursday, however, for his first run in the car, with team-mate Pastor Maldonado testing for the first two days.

The Venezuelan endured a tough rookie campaign last year, scoring just one point from the 19 races, with many believing he was lucky to be retained.

The financial backing Maldonado brings with him, however, will have been a mitigating factor in the decision to retain the 26 -year-old.

Despite that, Maldonado said: "I'm happy to be racing again with Williams.

"I have faith in the car and the Renault engine and so have high hopes for the races ahead.

"It will be very important we develop the car from the start of the season to the end.

"Now I have a year's experience, I can help in that area much more now."