Williams unveil the FW41

Kubica to take part in three FP1s as Williams unveils 2018 challenger

Williams unveils FW41 Formula 1 car for 2018 season

The 33-year-old former race victor, who left the sport after partially severing his right forearm in a 2011 rally crash in Italy, has a new role as the British team's reserve and development driver. Instead, drivers score the big bucks through sponsorship deals that see the funds split between team and driver, something that Williams was quick to point out.

"We would only put talented drivers in our vehicle", she added. "I would also like to thank our partners and fans for all their confidence and support".

"It needs to be developed but still the guys in the factory are pushing really hard so I think everybody is looking forward to seeing what the new auto is capable of".

But Claire Williams, deputy team principal for the Grove outfit, has insisted Sirotkin was signed on merit - and should not be underestimated ahead of the new 2018 season. "I've been training hard and I've been in the simulator regularly, going through different set-ups with the auto, different tracks, seat fittings and also a lot of engineering meetings and factory tours to meet everyone", he said. We'd miss out on so much talent coming into F1 if drivers didn't have financial backing supporting them through the junior formulae and bringing them into F1. "I'm getting ready for the season in the best possible way". I've been having fun with all the guys from different departments.

"We are very reluctant to say "we want to come fifth, or fourth, or third" or whatever it is because there's such great competition out there". It's busy times, but I am really enjoying it.

Claire Williams launched a passionate defence of her Williams team's driver line-up for the new Formula One campaign as the British outfit unveiled the auto they hope will fire them back up the grid this season.

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"It will be interesting to go back to some of the places I have been before, some of them providing different emotions from different moments in my life".

Technical director Paddy Lowe added: "The selection process we used was incredibly exhaustive - the most exhaustive I've ever been involved in involving the technical team".

He added: "I would prefer to be here as a race driver but if you look at it from a different perspective and where I was 12 months ago, nobody thought I would be in a position to drive an F1 vehicle. So, let's get started!"

Testing kicks off on Monday 26 February at Barcelona and will last for eight days.

The FW41 is the first work of new Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe and he is hoping for a major step-up in aerodynamic performance akin to his prior successes at McLaren and Mercedes.

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