Williams: F1 car's peaky downforce trait was not intended

Williams says the peaky downforce characteristics of its Formula 1 car weren't a route it planned to take, and is instead a consequence of new aero rules.

Williams: F1 car's peaky downforce trait was not intended

The Grove-based team's current challenger shows good form in certain conditions, but its downforce levels and balance can be impacted quite heavily by the wind or turbulence from other cars.

While a number of F1 outfits have over recent years moved away from chasing theoretical peaks of downforce for cars that are more consistent in all conditions, Williams has ended up going the other way.

Speaking ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Williams team principal Simon Roberts explained that the shift wasn't actually deliberate – but was instead something the squad ended up with it as it recovered lost downforce triggered by 2021's new aero rules.

"That wasn't the strategic approach," he said. "Our approach was simple: there were changes to the regulations and we were going to lose downforce and the team worked as hard as they could to recover that downforce. And I think we're not the only team.

"Look up and down the pit lane under certain conditions and all the cars are more sensitive than they used to be last year. Our car may or may not be worse than others but it's a consequence of the regulations and what we could within the homologated parts and the time available.

"It wasn't a plan. It wouldn't have been a great thing to do."

Read Also:

The Williams is very competitive in qualifying, which was shown last weekend in Portugal when George Russell just missed out on making it through to Q3.

However, both Russell and Nicholas Latifi have struggled more in the races.

Last weekend in Portugal, Russell slumped down the order as the Williams did not have the long run pace to compete with a number of cars that it had outqualified.

Reflecting on what happened, Roberts said: "It wasn't such a surprise. We were, I guess, over-optimistic, having had such fantastic qualifying but the true pace of the car never really changed.

"We had a good start - George had a good start. And if it hadn't had been for the red flag [safety car] – who knows? That was kind of the race pace, those conditions on that day.

"It was quite unique conditions in Portugal and you saw in Imola, two weeks before, it was the same car but it was much more competitive. I think we were disappointed because we were so optimistic but the reality is, when you look at the data, it was less of a surprise."

Roberts said the team was doing all it could to try to make the car less sensitive, but it was hard to make much progress amid the current homologation restrictions.

"We're doing everything we can," he said. "The challenge with these cars, with the combination of a lot of homologated components and then some mandated changes to the floor and rear brake ducts, the first thing we did which the guys at the factory and the girls at the factory, was recover as much performance as we could to try and make our car competitive.

"The data shows we have done that. The car is a better car than it was last year. The down side is that it's more sensitive, so occasionally that gets exposed, other times it doesn't. It's a combination of circumstances really."

shares
comments

Related video

Mercedes F1 team spent over £324m to win in 2020

Previous article

Mercedes F1 team spent over £324m to win in 2020

Next article

Spanish GP: Verstappen outpaces Hamilton in final practice

Spanish GP: Verstappen outpaces Hamilton in final practice
Load comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021