WilliamsF1's FW26 created a stir when it was unveiled at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo on Monday, but some Formula One insiders believe that its radical-looking front end treatment may not be as big a step forward as the team may want its rivals to believe.

The first wave of comments appears to be split between believing that there is something in the design, which pushes the front wing a lot further in front of a truncated nosecone than seen in recent years, and a more mischievous reason for their use...

"I think the tusks themselves are more a means to an end," one aerodynamicist, from a rival team, told Crash.net. "The front pillar (design) on most racing cars will only give a very small advantage when compared with the overall downforce/airflow over the car.

"I would imagine that the main aim [of the WilliamsF1 design] would be to move the front wing away from the nose - if you look at the profile of the car the front wing is significantly further forward than previous years. Whether this improves airflow over the wing, under the car or keeps the nose out of the disturbed air off the wing is anyone's guess - but there must be some gain in it."

The contrary view is that the design may be little more than a smokescreen, with WilliamsF1 looking to cause confusion among its rivals with just a few weeks to run before the season kicks off in early March.

"Alternatively - and I know teams that have done this - if the part has no significant gain, but also no real loss, performance-wise, but is simply something different, it gets bolted on anyway," the source explained. "As Williams knows full well, every other windtunnel on the grid will be testing 'tusks' over the next month - I know we will!

"It may be that it hasn't helped [WilliamsF1] necessarily, but it will still hinder other teams' development, as they have to investigate whether it is a gain or not..."

 

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