Wlliams were pencilled in to be the first outfit to reveal their new auto, but Haas suddenly became the first team to break cover with an unannounced online launch of the VF-18. We have Force India who did a terrific job a year ago and beat us in the championship.
And Williams' Chief Technical Officer, Paddy Lowe, believes complaints over how wishbone structures look will quickly be forgotten.
Williams launched its 2018 charger in London on Thursday evening, images of which showed an aggressive and bold design, the first overseen by Lowe since joining the team in early 2017.
Lowe said in a statement: "The auto has many new features, most of which are not all that obvious, but externally the team has pursued a very different aerodynamic concept which has allowed us some significant progress in aerodynamic performance". All Formula 1 cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involve a number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past.
Paddy says performance is only the reason they've done things differently, making a "number of radical changes to the car's packaging to incorporate further developments" from Mercedes and other parts suppliers.
"I hope we deliver a strong element of that in this vehicle".
He said Sirotkin, who first appeared on Formula One's radar when he joined Swiss-based Sauber in 2013 as a 17-year-old development driver, had served a "fantastic apprenticeship" in the junior series.
Sergey Sirotkin will be a "surprise" in 2018 and should not be depicted as a "pay driver", Williams have insisted.
"Lance produced some impressive performances previous year in what was a remarkably strong debut season, where he only just lost out to Felipe in the standings".
On a relative basis, Lowe is expecting massive competition from the likes of Force India, McLaren and Renault but the 55-year-old engineer's main target is to reduce Williams' deficit with the top-three front-running teams.
"It's also my pleasure to welcome Sergey and Robert to Williams, who have both displayed exceptional speed and qualities that I know will only strengthen the team". Sort of. He's Williams' reserve and development driver for this season.
"It's great if a driver has financial partners, it's great for the team and the driver. I would also like to thank our partners and fans for all their confidence and support".
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: "I am thrilled to be back and launching our new auto, for a new season, with a new, exciting driver line-up". "I learned from the tough times... and I enjoyed the good times".
"Of course I would prefer to be here as a race driver but if you look at it from a different perspective, and you see where I was 12 months ago, nobody thought I would be in a position to drive an F1 vehicle", he said. The result is. striking shall we say? The first race of the new season will be in Melbourne on 25 March.