|Williams FW38 Mercedes|
So rather than focus on that, try to pick out the subtle differences from the front axle backwards. The sidepods have a different-shaped air inlet hole. The rear end is narrower. The cockpit protection is around 30% taller. There are new slots and raised sections in the floor. It may look almost identical at first, but the team have been working on this car for longer than they usually would and there are even more unexplained changes under the sexy skin.
Here's a comparison from F1Fanatic (perspective and zoom are different in each image):
The sidepods are actually about the same size, it's just different photography. You can see the higher cockpit sides, though.
The car in many ways reflects the team; the driver lineup and all the main staff are the same as last year, but Pat Symonds tells us that there have been "several operational changes" that are "not particularly visible from the outside." While the two previous cars by this team have been fast in a straight line and very consistent in high speed corners, they have struggled with low-speed traction... a problem made much worse when it rains. As such their main efforts have been in identifying design and setup changes to improve mechanical traction without spoiling their strengths in lightness and aerodynamics.
I can't wait to see what it looks like without a "thumb tip nose" when it appears in Melbourne. I also hope they win a race this year, although the red cars will be harder to beat...
UPDATE (20/2) - I decided to get an idea of what this car would look like with a pointed nose, so I cranked the starting handle on my Photoshop-o-matic and it churned out this mockup. Better? Worse?
|Williams FW38 Mercedes - pointed nose mockup|