On the same day that Williams rolled out the FW35, they have been told that their new exhaust is illegal.
Frank Williams' outfit presented a two-part cover above the exhaust exit which is believed to contravene Article 3.8.5 of the FIA's technical regulations which states that: 'Single apertures either side of the car centre line [are permitted] for the purpose of exhaust exits. These apertures may have a combined area of no more than 50,000mm2 when projected onto the surface itself. No point on an aperture may be more than 350mm from any other point on the aperture.'
Technical director Mike Coughlan immediately defended his model, suggesting that the covering being in two-parts puts it on the right side of the regulations.
"Ours is OK, because if you look at ours it's actually not a single piece it's two pieces. The rule is an aperture size, and ours is an aperture size; ours is one aperture because it's joined by a small piece in the middle," explained Coughlan.
"You're governed by total aperture size, but singular aperture, and ours is a single aperture joined by a very small slot. So it's actually two pieces, if you look closely you'll see."
However, later in the day it was revealed that the FIA had deemed the exhaust illegal.
"The team spoke with the FIA this morning which is when they gave us their view," said a Williams spokeswoman.
"The team are now seeking further clarification on this and a decision as to whether this design will be carried forward will be made before the first race."