Pat Symonds: “We have got to push on”

The Williams Martini Racing team will find it hard to move up the order in the Constructors’ championship in 2015 than it did in 2014 says one of the men who was credited with assisting the team progress last season.

Speaking at the Autosport International Show, Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds said that beating Ferrari to third place in the Constructors’ championship brought him ‘great pleasure’, especially with the budget of the team being dwarfed by that of the Italian team, but feels improving on that position will be far more tricky than improving from ninth to third they did last season.

“We have set the bar high,” said Symonds. “We are not a team that is in financial troubles by any means, but we are not a team that has the budget available that our competitors have.

“It is one of the things that gives me great pleasure in beating Ferrari last year, it is not the fact that I am a competitive person, but that we beat them on half their budgets! But moving on from third onwards is probably more difficult than it was moving from ninth to third.

“We can see that a lot of our rivals have either new power units or new people in place, so we have to exploit our advantage of the continuity we have got. We have got to push on.”

Despite much of the praise on the strong season being placed on the team switching from Renault-power to Mercedes, Symonds insists that that was not the full story, and that the technical and aero departments can hold their heads up high for giving the drivers a strong car to race with.

“It wasn’t just the power unit,” insisted Symonds. “In 2013 we had the same power unit as the guys who won the championship and finished ninth.

“A lot of new things came in [for 2014]. The power unit was obviously the most significant – but things like brake-by-wire, the new aero regulations, they were far more significant than a lot of people realised.

“I think we got on top of all of those. Our brake-by-wire system was absolutely trouble-free. Our drivers didn’t even know it was there. That was the quality of the engineering that we were able to bring to 2014.”

Symonds insists that there has never been just one thing or another that would bring the team back to the front of the field but a combination of things coming together to make the whole package to work. He also pointed out that some of the teams’ procedures were improved, such as in the pit lane.

“There never is a single magic bullet,” said Symonds. “It really is getting everything working together and that is not just in a technical sense; it is in an operational sense.

“As a race team we improved immeasurably over the winter and during the course of the year. As illustrated by simple things like pit stops. In 2013, a Williams pit stop was really a worry!

“During 2014 several times we set the fastest stop of the weekend – they were regularly good and showed how team developed, and by the end of the season we were racing at the front.”