The FIA has turned down Williams’ request to remove all of the paint from their car in order to save weight and lap time.
Williams is understood to be running at just over 800kg, which is slightly over the FIA’s 798kg limit.
The new regulations have wrecked havoc on teams’ ability to create cars without putting too much weight on them, as the FIA’s limit is 798kg, while the majority of teams have vehicles weighing more than 800kg.
A full paint job on the vehicles is estimated to weigh 6kg, and eliminating that much weight can result in a time reduction of three tenths of a second, a big number in the tight midfield battle.
After starting the season with a smart-looking dark blue colour scheme, Williams scraped a lot of it off the vehicle, leaving them with a lot of exposed, bare carbon fibre, and they’ve apparently asked the FIA whether they can race a car without a colour scheme.
As a result of the regulatory body’s refusal, some of the blue paint will have to remain. It’s no secret that money is a big element of Formula 1, and displaying sponsors with a decent colour scheme helps the teams earn a lot of money.
Engineer Dave Robson explained the dilemma the squad is in as they aim to lose weight while keeping their sponsors satisfied.
“It’s just the thing that engineering meets marketing, isn’t it? We all want the car to look stunning, which is part of the sport,” he told Motorsport.com.
“And it’s not just about the livery on the car; it sets the tone for the whole brand which is clearly really important.”
Robson also revealed that team investors do not want to put their money into a losing team, therefore maintaining the car’s speed is just as important, if not more so, to them than a flashy livery.
“For sure it’s a compromise,” he explained. “The car needs to have some visible personality about it. But at the same time, it’s in the sponsors’ interests to make it as quick as possible.”
Alfa Romeo is likely to be the only team to have reached weight, even though the initial limit of 795kg was imposed.
Alfa Romeo’s technical director Jan Monchaux, previously stated that due to the dramatic overhaul of the technical requirements, the team’s mindset had to shift, and they prioritised weight-saving over their usual reliability push.
“Until now, we’ve always had the tendency to be reliable, but to start the season with too much weight. I don’t want that anymore,” he said.
Since the start of the season, Mercedes, McLaren, and Aston Martin have been busy cleaning paint from their cars, as the figure on the scales has remained a source of anxiety in the tense midfield race.
Williams sits last in the Constructors’ Championship after scoring their lone point in Australia through Alex Albon, while Nicholas Latifi appears to be suffering from a combination of poor confidence and blunders.