The Williams Martini Racing Team are at a loss as to why updates they have applied to the FW38 this season have not worked as planned, despite having a strong match between data seen at the factory and that achieved on track.
In 2014, the Oxfordshire based team’s progression was much more rapid and continued throughout the season, with the British team able to challenge the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari squad’s on a much more consistent basis, with podium finishes always a realistic attainment. This year however, they seem to have stalled in their development, stuck in a rut that they are unable to move forward from.
Speaking to Autosport.com recently, Williams F1 Team Technical Director Pat Symonds, explained the squad’s predicament.
“In the last two years, we’ve been proud that we have brought things to the track that have performed as we anticipated.
“During that time, there was only one thing we brought that it didn’t do what we hoped it would do so that is a pretty good record.
“This year, we’ve had two quite major developments and they haven’t delivered as much as we expected.
Due to the lack of improvement seen from the upgrades introduced earlier in the year, Williams made the decision to switch their attentions to their 2017 project sooner than they had originally planned, and therefore held back on development of the FW38. Now, with no real clue as to what the reason for their performance stand still could be, an investigation is currently underway back at the factory, and Symonds has no doubts that they will eventually find the source of their difficulties, but unfortunately it may come a little too late to boost their 2016 challenge.
“We have made a call to switch to next year’s car quite early on.
“We’ve introduced fewer upgrades than normal and some of those haven’t performed as well as we hoped they would.
“I’ll be honest and say we’re not completely sure [why] yet and we’re having a big investigation into it right now.
“We will get to the bottom of it, it’s the nature of the way we work at Williams, and we do go into things in a lot of detail so we will sort it.”
As with a number of teams this year, Williams have struggled to get the 2016 tyres working in the right performance window, and this has compounded their problems further. Symonds believes that better knowledge on the tyre front would be a big benefit to the team, and that additional resource should be ploughed into understanding this area in the future.