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Williams believes new F1 floor rules could help it

Williams thinks there is a chance that new floor rules for 2021 could help it make further progress up the Formula 1 grid.

Jack Aitken, Williams FW43

As part of a number of regulation tweaks coming for this year aimed at cutting downforce to help lessen the stress put on tyres, teams will have to deal with tighter restrictions around the floor areas.

In particular, they will be required to cut away a section of the floor ahead of the rear tyre and will be banned from using slots in this region.

Teams have been exploiting this area of the car for some time, to help better feed air through the diffuser for added downforce.

With the top outfits potentially exploiting the floor designs better than the smaller teams, because of the vast resource needed to fully understand this complex area, Williams suspects that removing it will even things out for everyone.

And that means there is a chance that top teams like Mercedes and Red Bull could be hindered more by losing the benefits of this area than some outfits further down the order.

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Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson thinks the change could well be quite significant, and may be good news for his outfit.

“It is a major change to the floor, particularly that area close to the rear tyre,” he said. “It is an area where we suspect we're not class leader, let's say, so hopefully for us it's less of a hit than some of those other teams.

“I think it is traditionally a very difficult area to understand, particularly how the floor will react to the tyre as it deforms and ages and wears.

“So hopefully it will have quite a big effect for the teams at the sharp end and perhaps less so for us. That's what we're hoping and hopefully there's some early indications from the running we did on Friday [in Abu Dhabi] that that might be the case.”

A number of outfits have already tested the new floor designs during Friday free practice sessions this year, to try to better understand the implications of the changes.

The FIA is hoping that the new 2021 rules will cut downforce levels by around 10 percent, with cars set to be further slowed by more robust tyres from Pirelli.

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