PORTIMAO, January 19 – The Williams Formula One team gave their new car, the FW31, a run-out in the rain at the Algarve Motor Park circuit here on Monday, with test driver Nico Hulkenberg at the wheel.
After completing 17 laps in the FW31, Hulkenberg reported: "Straight away the new car feels okay, I feel comfortable in it and for a new car, we have also had a trouble-free morning technically, which is important.
"The important thing for today is simply to make sure we run through all the checks of the basic systems on the car and confirm everything is working as it should. So far that is the case and we can be happy."
Team Principal Frank Williams predicted an "interesting" season ahead.
"The new aero rules mean a different approach to the cars in a number if areas," he said.
"However, by the time we get to Melbourne, I would expect the usual suspects to still be dominating the top two positions. More importantly, I hope Williams will have made a significantly large step forward with the FW31."
Still in its dark blue winter testing colours, Williams are counting on their 2009 model to produce a marked improvement on their disappointing eighth-place in the constructors championship in 2008.
The FW31, in common with the cars unveiled by rivals Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota and Renault, features new-look wings required to comply with the latest regulations governing aerodynamic modifications.
Drivers Nico Rosberg of Germany and Kazuki Nakajima of Japan have been retained by the British outfit for the upcoming season which starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 29.