The Williams Martini Racing team head to the Red Bull Ring this weekend with fond memories of the venue, having taken pole position there with Felipe Massa back in 2012, but chief technical officer Paddy Lowe admits it will be a much more difficult weekend for them this season.
The team currently sit at the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship after the first eight races of the year, with Lance Stroll’s eighth place finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix the only time the team have put points on the board, while Sergey Sirotkin has a best finish of fourteenth, achieved in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Just last weekend, Sirotkin finished fifteenth in the French Grand Prix while Stroll was forced to retire in the closing laps when his tyre failed at high speed, but despite those disappointments, Lowe is looking forward to the second race of the triple-header in Austria.
“We head straight on from France to the Austrian GP, for the second race in the triple-header race weekends,” said Lowe. “The undulating track is surrounded by impressive scenery, and the circuit itself also tends to produce some great racing.
“The track is quite short, so sessions can feel quite busy, but it is a circuit where we have seen some good results as a team.”
Lowe welcomes the fact that, for the second time this season, Robert Kubica will take to the track in free practice for Williams, but he acknowledges the car that he will use, the FW41, is not as fast as the team were hoping for it to be this year, although work continues to be done in order to improve their lowly position in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
“We look forward to seeing Robert Kubica back behind the wheel for FP1, as we continue to push forward the development of the FW41,” said Lowe.
“We are not where we need to be at the moment, but a lot of work is ongoing behind the scenes to address this and we will continue fighting hard throughout the rest of the season.”