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Williams finally manage to get their new car to F1 testing

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Days after their rivals who have been busy testing since the start of the week.

Williams were hoping to get their new Formula One car on track for the first time yesterday, days later than rival teams who have been busy testing since the start of the week, after finally getting it to Spain overnight.

The former champions, last overall in 2018 with one of their worst ever showings, have been the only team whose car has yet to turn a lap. A team spokeswoman said the FW42 car arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya at 4am local time (3am GMT) and mechanics were working to get it ready.

“There is still a fair amount of work to do as expected so (it is) unlikely to run until after lunch, but everyone is doing as much as they can,” she added.

The first test ends this evening with four more days next week before teams pack up and ship the cars to Australia for the first race in Melbourne on March 17. Any lack of testing time is a big setback for a team, with others such as champions Mercedes and Ferrari well into their programmes after having already completed more than 300 laps each after two days.

Williams have an all-new line-up in British rookie George Russell and Poland’s Robert Kubica, returning to the starting grid for the first time since a near-fatal rally accident in 2011.

The team, who took nine constructor’s titles and seven driver’s crowns during their glory years between 1980 and 1997, scored only seven points from 21 races last year.

The inability to produce the car on time has raised questions about the future of technical head Paddy Lowe, who joined in 2017 from champions Mercedes and is the man ultimately responsible for delivering it.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton shrugged off Ferrari’s testing pace yesterday while recognising that he and Mercedes faced their toughest challenge yet as they seek to stretch their Formula One domination into a sixth successive season.

Ferrari, overall runners-up last year, have led the timesheets for the first two days of testing and have also done plenty of laps with their new SF90 car. Sebastian Vettel, the four times champion said on Monday his Ferrari had been “close to perfection”.

Mercedes, winners of both titles for the past five years, have also been pounding out the mileage without setting any eye-catching times.

“They (Ferrari) have been looking great,” Hamilton told reporters. “For us it’s been just digging deep, trying to understand the car, Pretty much the same as the beginning of every year. The Ferraris always look strong, particularly in the last few years they look very strong right at the beginning so it’s to be expected.”

Ferrari won the first two races of last year with a car that seemed quicker than the Mercedes but the champions came back strongly and Hamilton ended the year with 11 wins to Vettel’s tally of five. – Reuters