Williams is preparing for further technical innovations and updates to be introduced at the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Team Principal James Vowles confirmed that the recent updates between Montreal and Silverstone had performed as expected, but there is still room for improvement in extracting more performance from the current package.
The progress made by Williams this season has been commendable, with the team no longer struggling at the back of the grid as they did in previous years. While certain limitations of the car, such as the lack of absolute downforce, cannot be overcome in a short span of time, the team’s technical group has made significant strides.
Big strides in 2023
The season opener in Bahrain saw Alex Albon finish in the points, and the team has consistently fought for points finishes in several races.
The team’s recent successes have been largely attributed to the updates introduced in Montreal, including a different engine cover, revised floor, and revised sidepod configurations. These changes have particularly improved the car’s performance in fast corners and sections where it previously lacked competitiveness.
The long straights at Silverstone also played to the strengths of the car’s low drag characteristics. Furthermore, a new front wing was introduced at Silverstone, further enhancing the team’s performance.
Vowles: “Our updates are working”
James Vowles expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far and highlighted that there are still more updates to come. He mentioned that the upcoming rounds, starting with Spa, will see additional elements designed to maximize performance on those tracks. The team will continue to evaluate and test the current package to unlock its untapped potential.
“Updates work,” commands a confident Vowles,
“The first part of the package arrived at Montreal, the most important and substantial part, while a new front wing arrived at Silverstone,”
Big news for Spa
The upgrade programme is on course with an additional big upgrade package to be added onto the car for the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa.
‘We have some news for the next few races,” says Vowles,
“At Spa, there will be elements designed to get the most out of that track. But there will also be other small innovations to further improve the single-seater and complete the package we have put together recently. That’s the plan and I don’t think it’s much different from our rivals, trying to maximise what we have, but keeping an eye on next year,” said the Team Principal.
“In addition, we will be testing on Fridays for several weekends to better understand the limits of the current package, because we believe there is still some untapped potential in this car,”
Robson: Hungarian Grand Prix could be tricky
However, the upcoming race in Budapest may pose challenges for Williams, as the circuit’s characteristics do not suit their car’s aerodynamic efficiency. The team recognizes that their maximum downforce is still slightly lower than that of their rivals.
Performance Manager Dave Robson acknowledged the importance of flowing tracks and long straights for maximizing the FW45’s strengths:
“Obviously one of the big advantages of this car is the overall aerodynamic efficiency. And that is not very relevant at Budapest. At Silverstone it’s quite relevant, depending on how wet the track is. But I don’t think straight line speed will make a difference in Budapest. We just have to get the maximum load we can, which is still a bit less than the others,”
Williams car surprisingly good despite tricky conditions
The unpredictability of performance levels among teams has been a notable aspect of this season, influenced by track layouts, weather conditions, and tire management. Williams has been working to better understand these variations and has made progress in deciphering the reasons behind their improved performance.
The team has been surprised by their strong showings in certain conditions and windy situations.
“I think we understood it better. There are still some variations that we don’t fully understand, but I think on Friday for some reason we were able to go fast in conditions where our cars usually aren’t the best in the wind,”
“Actually we didn’t do too badly [at Silverstone]. But it was fascinating that both drivers said the car didn’t feel good in the wind,
“And they were really surprised at their position on the timesheets because they expected to be quite low. Then, for whatever reason, the others seemed to struggle more than usual. But yes, I think we have managed to understand why the car worked well at Silverstone,” concludes Robson.
Overall, Williams under Vowles’s new management remains focused on continual development and improvement. The upcoming updates at Spa are part of their plan to maximize performance while also keeping an eye on next year’s car.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 14, 2023