Back in 2014 Williams were the only team that could be considered reasonable competition to the dominance of the Silver Arrows in the first half of the season. Their strong suit was (and still is) low downforce, mainly because they haven’t the budget to develop useful downforce without drag, and no better a place to demonstrate this advantage had been at the Red Bull Ring 2014. Indeed many commented that they should’ve won that race but seemed too happy to play it safe with a strategy that would only guarantee a podium spot and not the top step. Perhaps the drought of wins (not counting Pastor Maldonado’s freak victory in Spain) had been too long for the Grove outfit.
Then in 2015 for both Austrian and British GP’s, Felipe Massa secured third place- the two Williams cars showing to their advantage early in the Grand Prix at Silverstone before the Mercedes duo Hamilton and Rosberg finally showed their advantage. Hamilton in particular making a brilliant well timed call for the correct tyre in mixed conditions in the latter stages.
But this year, the team have again tried to add downforce and plainly gone backwards. The results of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, despite the Finn podium in Canada, remain below the Williams expectations.
“After Canada, we expected much better…. working all night, we did not asleep!” Rob Smedley, Williams head of performance told AUTO weekly.
“We still have not got the points that we could and should have, but our pace is reasonable … In Canada, we beat Red Bull because our car was better, and the next races in Spielberg and Silverstone should favour our car. Our ambition is to get closer to Mercedes and Ferrari, teams with far more resources.”
With Ferrari under delivering with both car and strategy this year, coupled with Mercedes unreliability, team and driver errors, Smedley see’s a real opportunity.
“The mentality of winning is what we are to putting in place within the team … We should not only building a winning car, but it is also a state of mind. It we must regain our winning mentality.”