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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Hungarian GP tech debrief: How Williams is trying to fight back

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Hungarian GP tech debrief: How Williams is trying to fight back
By:
Co-author: Matt Somerfield
Jul 27, 2016, 12:16 PM

In part two of our Hungarian GP tech debrief, Giorgio Piola and Matt Somerfield look at how Williams is trying to reverse the downward spiral of its relative performance.

Williams is having a curious season, and seems at sea in terms of understanding the lack of performance that new parts brought through to add downforce have had.

This has had a detrimental affect on the squad's championship challenge, and has seen Red Bull accelerate past and towards Ferrari, while Force India has become a threat to the team for fourth place in the championship.

So, Williams has decided to take two steps back in order to take one forward, evaluating where it has gone wrong and hopefully rectifying it to rescue their season.

In Hungary, just as it did in the post-British GP test, the team focused on the back-to-back testing of aerodynamic components used throughout the season, having come to the realisation that the development path it had set out on may have led it down a cul-de-sac.

Starting with the front wing, it re-evaluated the new specification, that has yet to be raced in free practice. Having decided it wasn’t providing the desired uplift in performance, Williams reverted to the specification used at the start of the season rather than the interim one first used in Bahrain that featured a slot in the ‘r’ cascade (inset).

The wing however was painted with the new surface finish used in the last few GPs, which prevents debris sticking to the surface and improves aerodynamic performance.

 

Williams FW38 noses comparison
Williams FW38 noses comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

They both used the old, longer nose, relegating the newer, shorter nose introduced in Bahrain to the secondary spare.

The same treatment was given to the bargeboards, with the new ones introduced at the Russian GP thrown on the spares pile, as the team returned to the early season specification.

Williams FW38 Mirror Comparison
Williams FW38 Mirror Comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

As Williams looked to improve the performance of the sidepods, a new set of wing mirror stalks were introduced.

The taller stalks move the mirrors up out of the way of the cockpit fin and sidepod's leading edge devices, both of which are tasked with increasing the sidepod's operating window and hopefully improve downforce now they’re not blocked by the mirrors.

 

Williams FW38 floor detail
Williams FW38 floor detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Bottas utilised a new floor for qualifying and the race, with the team shipping it to arrive in time for assessment in the third free practice session.

The new floor features one less slot at the rear of the floor but features three new L-shaped slots ahead of them (arrowed), having an impact much further forward.

The slots are reminiscent of the ones first introduced by Toro Rosso in 2015, whilst Mercedes now uses some of a very similar design.

These slots, along with the plethora of vertical strakes on top of the floor, are all used to control ‘tyre squirt’, a phenomenon caused by the deformation of the rear tyre, whereby airflow is squirted laterally into the diffuser's path and robs it of performance.

Williams FW38 rear wing detail
Williams FW38 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Just as it had already done in Silverstone, Williams reverted to the old-specification rear wing, which with the help of the monkey seat previously used in Monaco was to provide an uptake in downforce and balance.

Williams' race pace was still rather anonymous, as the team struggled to maximise the aerodynamic package due to a lack of downforce, while it continued to struggle with the tyres, unable to unlock the level of performance seen by Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.

Even so, Bottas finished ahead of both Force India drivers, meaning Williams edged a point further away in the championship - a small consolation as it looks to understand the issues stymieing its progress.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Hungarian GP
Location Hungaroring
Teams Williams
Author Giorgio Piola