Formula 1

2019 Williams concept already looking ‘a step ahead’ of 2018 car says Sirotkin

2 Mins read
Sergey Sirotkin - Formula 1 - 2018 United States GP
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Sergey Sirotkin believes that Williams Martini Racing‘s 2019 car is already “a step ahead” of their ’18 contender.

Williams currently sit last in the Constructors’ Championship – a position they have made their own over the course of the 2018 Formula 1 season – and face one of the worst seasons in a history that spans over 40 years.

Guided by ex-Scuderia Ferrari man Dirk de Beer, Williams’ 2018 efforts were vastly different to the car they secured them a fifth place finish in the standings in 2017 and brought one podium through Lance Stroll in Azerbaijan. Earlier in the season, de Beer stepped away from his duties after just a year with the Grove team.

Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe told Autosport that the aggressive changes to the car for 2018 “didn’t really work”.

Throughout the season both Stroll and Sirotkin have suffered with aerodynamic stalling at the diffuser due to the Ferrari inspired undercut on the sidepods. In between qualifying and the race for the British Grand Prix, Williams were forced to revert back to an older-spec rear wing after numerous spins under braking.

Sirotkin says that team have worked to understand the basics of the issues, the investigation leading to “quite a different” approach and process for 2019.

“It’s all based on very much fundamental understanding and, let’s say, on the process we build the car,” the rookie told Autosport.

“It’s all started from there and that is why it took us so long to understand it properly and to get over it.

“We learned many lessons about the procedure from zero to the end, and the way we are approaching the new car it’s going to be quite a different process,” he continued.

“So we can avoid the issues we suddenly found this year, and then obviously put more performance on it.”

Last Friday, Williams announced that FIA Formula 2 championship leader George Russell has signed a “multi-year arrangement” with the team, starting in 2019. His team-mate is yet to be confirmed, with soon-to-be Racing Point Force India F1 Team refugee Esteban Ocon, reserve driver Robert Kubica and Sirotkin all on the “short shortlist”.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, team principal Claire Williams said that Williams “don’t want to rush” their decision.

“We started that evaluation process a good few weeks ago now,” said Williams.

“We always said we wanted to make this decision based on pure data, and to get the best talent from within that pool of drivers that we have.

“We don’t know where we’re going to be yet exactly from a partnership perspective and any new partners that are going to come on board and obviously if they do then it frees us up to make other decisions potentially.

“We’ve got to go through that process, so we don’t want to rush into a decision.”

 

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DTM, Formula 1 writer and deputy editor for The Checkered Flag. Autosport Academy member and freelance voice over artist.
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