The FIA have denied Williams’ request to strip back all of the paint on their car in a bid to save weight and shave lap time.
The new regulations have wreaked havoc on the teams’ capacity to develop the cars without putting too much weight on them, as the limit set by the FIA is 798kg, but the majority of the teams have cars that weigh over 800kg.
It is thought that a full paintjob on the cars weighs 6kg, and losing that amount of weight can lead to a decrease of three tenths of a second in lap time, a particularly significant number in the close midfield fight.
Having started the season with a smart-looking dark blue colour scheme, Williams have scraped a lot of that off the car, leaving them with an abundance of exposed, bare carbon fibre, and they have reportedly gone to the FIA and asked if they can run a car completely devoid of a colour scheme.
The governing body have declined this, so some of the blue paint will have to remain.
It is no secret that a huge part of Formula 1 is finance, and displaying sponsors with a good colour scheme brings in a significant amount of revenue for the teams.
Engineer Dave Robson detailed the conundrum the team are faced with as they try to save weight while still keeping the sponsors happy.
“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.”
The Briton also emphasises that investors in the team do not want to be putting their money into a loser, so ensuring the pace of the car is just as beneficial to them – if not more so – than an eye-catching livery.
“For sure it’s a compromise. 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,” he explained.
Alfa Romeo are thought to be the only team who have successfully made weight, even the initial limit which was set at 795kg.
Jan Monchaux, technical director at the Swiss team, revealed previously that the philosophy had to change amid such an unprecedented overhaul of the technical regulations, and they prioritised weight-saving over their customary 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.
Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin have also been busy removing paint from their cars since the start of the season as the number on the scales continue to be a concern in the tense midfield battle.
Williams are last in the Constructors’ Championship having scored their only point through Alex Albon in Australia, while an amalgamation of low confidence and mistakes seem to have affected Nicholas Latifi.