Williams confirm January 19 launch date

Williams will unveil their 2009 challenger, the FW31, on January 19 at the new Algarve Motor Park circuit in Portugal, the team confirmed today.

The launch co-incides with the first major testing event of the new year at the new 2.9 mile Portimao circuit and several tams will be in action, including Renault who will reveal their 2009 car, the R29, on the same day as Williams.

Speaking to Formula One’s official website, Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima revealed that the team had been struggling with the balance of their hybrid 2008-09 car, but remained confident that the issues would be resolved in the new car.

“At the moment we are testing a car with the front of the 08 car and the rear with 09 spec, so the balance is not perfect,” the Japanese driver said.

“The feeling is very different with the slick tyres and the downforce for next year, so a real feeling for the car has not yet developed. But when we have the new car for next year it s going be totally different. At the moment the rear of the car, plus gearbox, is completely next year s design.

“I would say that more than half of the car is next year s car, but as the front is still the old car it lacks balance. Basically we tested some suspension set-ups and were collecting aero data.”

Although Nakajima struggled to match the underlying pace of teammate Nico Rosberg in 2008, his consistency on race day resulted in several well earned points finishes.

Now the Toyota-backed driver is turning is attention to the podium, though he admits it will be a challenge.

“Well, there are no real facts that make me convinced podiums will be possible – it s just the target, because I have finished in the points and the next logical step would be a podium finish.”

“It s basically my own self confidence that tells me that it could be within reach.”