Lowe: Williams slump feels like Mercedes in Singapore 2015
Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe admits the team has been unable to find any answers about its lack of pace during the Austrian Grand Prix, as he compared the situation to Mercedes' struggles in Singapore 2015.
On that occasion, the previously-dominant world champion outfit had no immediate explanation for its sudden loss of form, and Lowe agreed that Williams has likewise been at a loss this weekend.
Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll will start the race from 17th and 18th on the grid after struggling for pace over the past two days.
When asked whether the situation was reminiscent of Singapore, Lowe - who had been a Mercedes employee back then - said: "Not in terms of explanation, but in terms of how it feels.
"These days are sent to test us, and in my experience if you make good use of them you learn a lot, and it makes you stronger for next time."
Lowe said the team, which has introduced several updates for its car this weekend, had tried everything to find more pace in the FW40.
"We were immediately slow, starting yesterday," he admitted. "That was clear. We were doing different bits of testing across the garage in the normal way, but it was obvious that the pace wasn't in the normal ranking.
"So we did a lot of trials in FP2, we felt we had a good direction from that, and put all our best thinking and analysis and effort into FP3. We changed the balance of the car, but we didn't actually make it any quicker.
"We tried a few more things going into qualifying, which also didn't make it quicker. The honest answer is we're not quick here but we don't know why at the moment.
"If I did know why, we would have done something about it. All our best ideas were already deployed either in FP3 or in qualifying. We'll have to go away and spend a lot more time analysing the situation."
The biggest shock for the team is that in recent years it has been competitive in Austria, having even locked out the front row there in 2014.
"That's the surprising thing," added Lowe. "One of our jobs is to undo that characteristic so you can be quick everywhere.
"This would have been one track where typically we have been quick in the past. We had a front row in 2014, and the philosophy within the team is not dramatically different since then."
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