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Canadian Lance Stroll and Williams launch their Formula 1 2017 challenger, the FW40

The Williams FW40, Saturday 25th February 2017, © WilliamsF1
Williams have officially pulled the covers of their 2017 Formula One racing car, the Mercedes-powered FW40.

Named to mark the team’s 40th anniversary, the car was revealed two days ahead of the start of 2017 pre-season testing at Barcelona. The team had previously revealed computer-generated renders of the car last week.

The physical car shows subtle changes to those computerised images, including a more aggressive shark fin similar to the designs unveiled by Sauber, Renault, Force India and McLaren.

The sidepods also appear to have been subtle remodelled, although much of the rest of the detailing remains similar to that of the render.

Mercedes are the only team to have not incorporated a bold shark fin into their opening 2017 designs – although the team admit that every surface of their car will change before the teams arrive in Australia for the 2017 season-opener.

At the wheel of the FW40 will be Felipe Massa, who rejoined Williams following his brief retirement after Valtteri Bottas left for Mercedes, and Canadian Lance Stroll, who is set to be the only rookie on the starting grid in Melbourne on 26 March.

Williams unveiled 18-year-old Lance Stroll as the man to complete their 2017 driver line-up, putting him on course to become the second-youngest driver ever to start a Formula One race.

The youngster, Canada’s first driver in the sport since the departure of 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve in 2006, said at the team’s official factory presentation in November: “To be racing in Formula One in 2017 is incredible, I can’t thank Williams enough for showing faith in my ability.

The newly announced Williams Martini Racing driver for the 2017 season Lance Stroll poses for photographers beside this years Formula 1 car at their base in Wantage, Britain

“Racing in F1 was something I dreamt about as a young kid. 2017 is going to be a big learning curve for me, but I’m eager to absorb everything Williams can share with me so that I improve.”

The teenager has only been racing cars for three seasons, but joined the Williams team’s young driver programme a year ago and has impressed in winning the 2016 European Formula 3 championship.

The young Canadian is not the only one plunging into the unknown in 2017, a season which sees the introduction of a raft of regulation changes in what will be the Williams team’s 40th year in the sport.

The new rules, including wider tyres and increased downforce, are the first changes aimed at speeding the cars up since 1997 – though they are being introduced despite loud complaints from the likes of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. The scope for shake-up in the established top order is thus much higher than in recent seasons.

The team are looking to fight their way back up the constructors’ standings this year after falling two places to fifth in 2016.

Williams’ reveal leaves Haas, Red Bull and Toro Rosso as the only three teams yet to show their hand in 2017. All three are due to pull the covers off their respective challengers on Sunday, the day before all 10 cars take to the track for the first official test of the year.

Williams have officially pulled the covers of their 2017 Formula One racing car, the Mercedes-powered FW40. Named to mark the team's 40th anniversary, the car was revealed two days ahead of the start of 2017 pre-season testing at Barcelona. The team had previously revealed computer-generated renders of the car last week. The physical car shows subtle changes to those computerised images, including a more aggressive shark fin similar to the designs unveiled by Sauber, Renault, Force India and McLaren. The sidepods also appear to have been subtle remodelled, although much of the rest of the detailing remains similar to that…

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