Tag Archives: Williams

Third is good but we still want to push Ferrari, says Claire Williams

Claire Williams says that her team can’t be too dissatisfied with the start of the season despite coming into it with ambitions to lead the chase of Ferrari.

The Williams has clearly been the third best car this season, although Valtteri Bottas did at least hold off the Ferrari of a delayed Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain last weekend to claim fourth spot.

“Those words frustrating and disappointing all come into play,” the deputy team principal told this writer. “But I think we’ve got to remember where we are and where we’ve come from. As much as last year was fantastic, especially at the tail end of it, Ferrari deserve to be in the position where it is, and we’ve just got to take the fight to them. We’re still third. Yes Mercedes are far ahead of us, but McLaren and Red Bull – two bigger teams with bigger budgets than us – are still behind us.

“We’ve just got to capitalise on these races, and I think we’ve done that in the four opening rounds, got the points we’ve needed to stay P3 in the championship, and we’ve just got to make sure we’ve got a strong development path in order to move forward. We’ve got an upgrade package for Barcelona, and then for the race after that.”

Williams was full of praise for the efforts of Bottas in Bahrain: “Valtteri did an amazing job to keep Vettel behind him for so many laps. It was fantastic. But you spoke to him afterwards and he was totally calm about it, and said it was easy! It was great for the team to have fought with Ferrari and come fourth, it was a real uplift for everybody.

“Felipe had a disappointing race from the start, as he had a gremlin with a sensor on the engine and had to start from the pitlane. And then he had an incident with Maldonado which meant he had some crash damage, which affected his pace throughout the race. But he still scored a point.”

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Felipe Massa: “A driver cannot do everything alone…”

Williams head of performance Rob Smedley paid his old pal Felipe Massa a big compliment in China last week when he said that the Brazilian was driving better than ever in 2015.

Today Massa was a little reticent when asked if he thought that was true.

“What I can say is I’m pretty happy with the way we’re working with the team, with my engineer, with everybody,” he said in Bahrain today. “If you go back to last year the first half of the season I was unlucky and so many things were happening in a different way, and not a consistent way. But the second part was very good.

“How I did the last four races of the season and how I did these three races is no different, it’s in a similar way. I think the consistency with how I finished the season until now I can bring everything I can to the car and use the car in the best way I can, with very good laps in the qualifying but also a good way of managing the tyres and using the car in the race.”

However, Massa did then agree he was driving at least as well as in 2008, when he fought for the title until the last corner of the last race.

“I think so. The only thing you cannot say is that we were fighting for the championship in 2008, and now not! For sure we had maybe the top car in 2008, and now we are maybe the third team in the championship, but I feel really good, I feel that I am driving really well, and can use the car in the best way I believe I can.

“It’s nice to have that feeling, it gives you extra confidence, the team are working for you, to understand everything you say, to take everything you say, to try to develop everything you say but also what they believe is correct together, and I think really that’s fantastic. A driver cannot do everything alone. You need to have the whole group working for the best of the driver, and I think that really counts a lot for me. Also many of you wrote my accident changed completely my driving, and maybe it’s not correct…”

Asked about his sometimes disappointing form in his later years at Maranello he said: “I had some reasons, but I don’t want to put the reasons on the table. But I have some reasons for not being so strong in the last seasons with Ferrari. The past is the past, we work for the present, which is better.”

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Symonds cautions against rush to 1000bhp engines

Williams technical boss Pat Symonds has cautioned against a rush towards new regulations for 2017 – and says that the priority should be to ensure that the sport’s teams are in a healthy state.

Discussions are underway about more powerful engines and ways of making the cars look spectacular.

“I like the idea of 1000bhp engines, I like the idea of spectacular cars,” said Symonds today. “I also like the idea of having a lot more cars on the grid, and that’s what I think should be our prime concern at the moment, to have a good business, and something that spectators also want to watch. They can at times be mutually exclusive unfortunately, but I think there is a lot that we can do within the framework that we have, and particularly to improve our engagement with the public.

“I think that we are much too early into a new set of rules to start radical change, but we should never be afraid of change, either.”

Meanwhile regarding the potential of the FW37 he said: “Competitiveness is a relative thing. We’ve certainly taken steps that I hope will move us forward, but I don’t know yet what our competitors have done. I hope that at least we start where we finished.

“Our development rate last year was one of the things I’m particularly proud of, we really did add a lot of performance to the car relative to our competitors last season. We’re applying all of the same sort of philosophies to doing that. We want to get in there and be fighting.”


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Pat Symonds on the Williams FW37

The Williams FW37 is our first sighting of a 2015 F1 design

The Williams FW37 is our first sighting of a 2015 F1 design

Williams has become the first team to release images of its 2015 F1 car, namely the FW37.

“The notion for the FW37 was to look closely at the FW36 and its performances,’” said the team’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds. “We then went about recognising what had worked well and identifying and resolving the areas that we felt needed to be improved. Although the aerodynamics of the car were impressive there is always room for improvement particularly as we handle the new 2015 nose regulations.

“The first conceptual stage of the FW37 came before the FW36 had turned a wheel. The main element to this is understanding the rule changes and how they will affect the design of the car, from here we can start see if our ideas will fit within the regulations.

“The change in regulations offered us a slight headache. The new front bulkhead and nose geometry had much more of an impact than we had initially anticipated and the effect on the aero was profound. The team have worked hard on pulling back the deficit these regulations have made for us.”

Symonds says work on FW37 was not compromised by a development push with last year’s car.

“The desire to beat Ferrari to third place in the Constructors’ in 2014 meant we pushed our development through to late autumn, but the size of the team is now at a point where it was able to sustain this development whilst still working on the FW37.

“We felt we came up against design barriers in the FW36 and so took the opportunity to remove those barriers for the benefit of the performance. The FW36 carried a reasonable amount of ballast, so we were able to make alterations to the design for added performance without the fear of adding excessive mass.”

Summing up the season to come he added: “The more rule stability there is, the closer the field gets. I hope as a team we are more capable of maintaining the forward momentum to catch Mercedes, than the teams behind us are of catching us. It’s not just about stable regulations but also about the team and every individual that works here moving forward and improving.”


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More changes as Williams hones engineering line-up

Williams has reshuffled its engineering line-up as the team continues to address any weaknesses that emerged in 2014.

Felipe Massa’s erstwhile race engineer Andrew Murdoch has been promoted to the role of Senior Performance Engineer. The team says that he will “lead the Performance Group at the factory, developing new techniques and processes within the engineering team to ensure continual performance improvements are brought to both cars throughout the season. He will also remain part of the trackside team with a focus on Valtteri Bottas’s car on event.” Former McLaren man Dave Robson has joined as Massa’s new race engineer.

After 22 years as chief mechanic Carl Gaden has become Senior Car Systems Engineer, with a focus on reliability. He is replaced by Mark Pattinson, latterly number one mechanic on Massa’s car.

Explaining the changes Pat Symonds said: “Off the back of a great 2014 campaign Williams is determined to continue this positive momentum into the new season, and these recent changes show our commitment to that goal.

“We are proud to be able to promote our existing talent to help strengthen every area within our engineering team and we will continue to invest in new talent where necessary to ensure we have the support and resources to achieve our on-track ambitions throughout 2015 and beyond. Our engineering team for the coming season is looking strong, and I’m excited to get the new season underway.”


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Andreasen bolsters Williams engineering team

Williams continues to strengthen its engineering squad as it undergoes a restructuring under the direction of Pat Symonds.

In addition to the impending arrival of Rob Smedley the team will be joined in the New Year by Jenson Button’s former race engineer Jakob Andreasen, who will work alongside Smedley, but in more of a factory-based role.

The Dane agreed to to join the team some months ago from Force India, where he has had the key role of chief race engineer. He has been credited with helping the Silverstone team to make progress.

Prior to joining Force India he was at McLaren. He originally worked on the Le Mans and GT programmes before leaving, but later returned to the F1 team. He was Lewis Hamilton’s data engineer before becoming Button’s race engineer from 2010.

As revealed here yesterday current Williams chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar is heading to Toro Rosso.

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Pujolar to Toro Rosso, Smedley to Williams

Williams chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar is quitting the team to join Scuderia Toro Rosso – leaving the door open for Ferrari’s Rob Smedley to take over his job at Grove.

Pujolar previously worked with Helmut Marko at the Red Bull-backed RSM F3000 team in 2000.

The Spaniard first became involved in F1 as an assistant race engineer at Jaguar in 2002. He then joined Williams as a performance engineer in 2003, and he was promoted to race engineer in 2004, initially working with Juan Pablo Montoya.

After a brief spell at HRT in 2010 he rejoined Williams for 2011, and he was Pastor Maldonado’s engineer when the Venezuelan won the Spanish GP last year. This season he was promoted to the role of chief race engineer.

Smedley, who once worked with the Williams touring car outfit, has been linked with a return to the team for some time, long before Felipe Massa emerged as a candidate for a 2014 race seat.

While the presence of his longtime pal Massa clearly won’t hurt, as chief race engineer Smedley will have responsibility for both cars, and thus won’t be the man talking to the Brazilian on the radio. The end of an era…


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