Williams has now unveiled this year’s challenger, the FW46, having previously had a season launch to present its new livery ahead of the car hitting the track.

And, whilst we haven’t seen the FW46 until now, we thought we could be assured of one detail, with the expectation being that the car would feature a push-rod rear suspension layout, rather than the pull-rod it has employed for the first two years of this regulation phase.

That’s due to Mercedes having made that switch this season, with Williams buying its rear end, including the gearbox and rear suspension hardware from it, alongside its power unit supply.

However, it appears that Williams has decided to forsake that option and continue with the same arrangement that it had last season.

Like Mercedes and Aston Martin, which also made the switch to push-rod at the rear, Williams has also retained a push-rod layout at the front of the car.

The Grove-based team elected to switch off development of the 2023 car early, so it could concentrate more on making the steps it needed for this season.

This year’s car is very much an evolution of last year when it comes to the aerodynamic components but there are several changes that warrant attention, starting at the front end with the design of the nose.

Williams FW46 at pre-season testing 2024

The FW46’s nose has a wider, flatter appearance overall, while the tip has a square chin section that’s narrower than the main body, rather than the smoother, rounder tip than its predecessor.

The front wing continues to follow the development made by the team throughout 2023, whereby the non-moveable section beside the nose has been narrowed, and the moveable flaps are wider.

In terms of the sidepods, Williams has followed the almost grid-wide trend, started by Red Bull, of utilising an underbite arrangement at the front of the assembly to increase the height of the undercut. This also provides the inlet more protection from the turbulence created by the front wheel assembly.

Williams FW46 at pre-season testing 2024

The rest of the sidepod has been optimised around this new design feature, including a change in the shape of the bodywork along the flank, and there’s also a ‘water slide’ on the upper surface.

The floor edge is similar to the trends we’ve seen up and down the grid during 2023, with the forward section of the edge wing rolled upwards and a series of curled strakes added to help control the airflow as it passes around the surface.

The rear wing now features the semi-detached tip section that we saw many rivals appropriate throughout last season, having been first introduced by Alpine at Monaco.

Meanwhile, the upwashing swage line that Williams introduced at the Australian Grand Prix has also been retained at the base of the rear wing endplate.