In the wee hours of the morning (in Austin, at least), Williams F1 Team revealed their car for the 2012 Formula One season: the Williams Renault FW34. Check it out:

Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado pose with the new Williams FW34 Renault. Photo: Andrew Ferraro/Williams F1

// The Car

The 2012 F1 season marks the team's 35th year competing in the sport, but it's far from "business as usual." Williams has rejoined forces with Renault for the first time since 1997 and is hoping to add to their previous partnership's 63 race wins, 4 Drivers' and 5 Constructors' titles. The Renault engine is a V8 power unit "renowned for its drivability, flexibility and durability." As a result of revised FIA technical regulations, this year's contender uses less than 5% of the parts from last year's FW33 and features the dropped nose at the front of the car.

A new Technical Director, Mike Coughlan, is behind the design and development direction of the FW34 and is excited to race:

“We are really looking forward to this season and from a personal perspective I can't wait to get the FW34 on to the race track. The factory has worked extremely hard over the winter to ensure that the car met its design, build and rig test targets and we start testing with the car prepared to a high standard. We’ve worked in close co-operation with all of our partners to achieve that, including Renault Sport F1. In the run-up to Australia, we will be working hard with our exciting new driver line-up to ensure that we maximise and unlock the full potential of the FW34. It is imperative that we demonstrate a continuous improvement in our performance and deliver results throughout the season.”

// The Drivers

Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas return to the line up, as Driver and Official Reserve Driver, respectively, and they are joined by Driver Bruno Senna after a consideredable winter evaluation process. All three competitors are excited about the FW34, team synergy and opportunities for the 2012 season. Maldonado is excited for his home country of Venezuela and hopes to give them good results as a thank you for their continued support. Vottas is looking forward to driving one practice session at 15 races in order to give him a better understanding of the car outside of the factory. And Senna added:

“I’m very excited to be back in action with the Williams F1 Team in Jerez. This is my ever first pre-season testing programme since I started in Formula One two years ago. I’m really motivated and looking forward to working hard and with everyone in the team. I hope we have a successful month testing and developing the car so we arrive in Melbourne as well prepared as possible.”

Williams F1 Team will join their competitors during winter testing in Jerez, Spain this week. Maldonado will drive Tuesday and Wednesday and Senna will be behind the wheel Thursday and Friday.

// The Partners

In addition to new car, new engine, new driver and new technical direction, Williams is also excited to expand their partnerships with some names even Americans will recognize, including Gillette and Head & Shoulders. Will we will see any commercials of Bruno stepping out of the shower and shaking a full head of hair? I can picture it now...

Hitting even closer to home, Williams continues to develop their partnership with native Texan Michael Johnson. Johnson is a retired American sprinter who still holds Olympic records in sprinting in addition to four Olympic gold metals and eight world championship gold medals. Last month, Williams F1 Team announced their partnership with Johnson's company, Michael Johnson Performance, which focuses on training top athletes in all sports. His performance center is located about 250 miles north of Circuit of The Americas (outside Dallas, Texas) but he has been spending time with the Williams team gearing up for a promising 2012 season. 

When Matt Jones, Head of Williams F1 Team's Marketing Services, visited Austin last month, it was evident that Williams is aligning a winning attitude with a dedication to excellence. You can sense Sir Frank Williams' excitement from today's launch:

“One could say that looking at the Williams F1 Team today we are off to a truly fresh start. We have a new car, new driver line up, new engine and new senior personnel. We also have a number of new partners who have joined the team in the past few months. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome them formally and sincerely wish that they have an enjoyable and, most importantly, a valuable experience with us. The team has had a good winter at the factory and we feel ready and strong for the fight.”

Michael Johnson, Sir Frank Williams, Chairman and Team Principal, Williams F1, with Adam Parr, CEO, Williams F1. Photo: Daniel Kalisz/LAT Photographic

But that's not it. Williams just activated a new application on Facebook that allows YOU to discover in-depth info on the FW34, technical videos, un-released stats and facts, driver interviews and more. Via this app, they'll reveal exclusive content and give you a chance to win a personalized signed image and framed print from Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna:

  • Feb. 7 - Tech changes
  • Feb. 10 - Engine & exhaust
  • Feb. 14 - Chassis & aerodynamic parts
  • Feb. 18 - Tires/tyres
  • Feb. 23 - Transmission & suspension
  • Feb. 27 - Cockpit & drivers
  • Mar. 1 - DRS & KERS
  • Mar. 5 - Pitstops
  • Mar. 9 - Final Reveal

Kudos to Williams for creatively keeping fans engaged; it will have us coming back for more. Go check it out on their Williams F1 Team Facebook page.