Williams says it has already shifted its aerodynamic focus away from its current Formula 1 car and on to its 2017 challenger, as it bids to get a head start on next year’s regulations.
All teams are facing a headache about how best to split resources between current developments to maximise performance in 2016, and beginning important work on the new faster cars that are coming for next season.
Williams technical chief Pat Symonds says that in terms of aerodynamics, developments for the current FW38 have been wound down – but there are enough parts coming through the system already to keep updates going until the summer break.
However, the team will keep pushing on until later in the campaign with aspects of the cars that can be carried over to 2017, like mechanical and suspension tweaks.
When asked when the team would hit the kill button in terms of 2016 updates, Symonds said: “It is hit! It was hit in terms of development but it takes a finite time to get stuff through.
“We have certainly got stuff planned – aerodynamics – until Hungary definitely, maybe even beyond that.
"But our focus is moving a little bit to some of the suspension areas and things like that, which can be carried over [to 2017].
"Certainly the design philosophy will carry over, even if the components will not necessarily. So there is a fair bit going on in that area too.”
While specific components on the mechanical side may not be suitable to carry over to the wider cars coming next year, Symonds is clear that anything learned now to improve understanding will help.
“I don't think there will be specific carry over, there will be carry over of ideas and philosophies,” he said. “As you guys know, these cars no longer run simple double wishbone suspension with a spring and a damper – those days are long gone.
“We are all working on various little devices that do tricky things and that is what I mean by the design philosophy.
"That will still be applicable if you want to try to change mechanical balance of the car through the corner. There is a certain way that you can do it that applies to a car that is two metres wide, 1.8 metres wide, or 7.3 metres wide. It doesn't matter really.”
Williams showed its commitment to understanding 2017 aero rules better when it ran a radical double decker wing solution at Barcelona testing this week to help simulate downforce and aero balance requirements.
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