Both Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin will start the British Grand Prix from the pit lane on Sunday after their Williams Martini Racing team decided to change the rear wings on both of the FW41’s overnight.
Both drivers struggled with their cars during Qualifying, with both suffering spins as they suffered aerodynamic stalls after deactivating their Drag Reduction Systems, with Stroll spinning into the gravel trap at Brooklands to end his session before being able to set a lap time.
Sirotkin continued on and managed to set a time, albeit only good enough for eighteenth and last, with neither Stroll or Brendon Hartley setting a time. Now it has been decided to revert both of their rear wings to older specification wings rather than the new ones introduced this weekend, which seemed to be having negative aerodynamic effects running with the floor of the car.
“Unfortunately, we had a big problem in qualifying which caused both cars to spin,” said Williams’ Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe. “In Lance’s case it ended his session, but in Sergey’s case, he managed to recover to the pits and was able to post one lap time on the board.
“We have a phenomenon which we have not seen all year, or indeed ever before, whereby the DRS activation intermittently causes a complete loss of aerodynamic floor loading which does not recover at the entry to the subsequent corner.
“In the case of both spins, the cars entered the corner with no load in the floor which had obvious consequences. We came to this event with a number of new bodywork items which we evaluated during FP1 and FP2.
“This new DRS-related phenomenon was seen only once in FP1 on one of the cars but was incorrectly diagnosed to be related to a particular configuration which we chose not to carry forward into FP2 and for qualifying and the race. We must now understand exactly what change in the cars caused this phenomenon which is entirely related to the use of DRS.”