Monaco Grand Prix – William’s Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams says that work on improving their FW42 continues flat out at their factory, with a significant upgrade package on the way.
Williams have struggled since the very start of 2019, having introduced the FW42 late during pre-season testing due to undisclosed problems with getting the car ready on time. Since then, Williams have trailed at the back of the field, consistently making up the last row of the grid and never really being in a position to race anybody else.
For the former behemoth of the sport, 2019 has been an annus horribilis but Williams says that progress is being made on closing the gap to the other teams. She says there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’: “I think probably just from the time sheets and the last race in Barcelona, we demonstrated that we are closing thet gap.”
“It may be slow but we all know that it takes time to bring performance to your car. There’s definitely a lot of good work going on back at the factory that people may not necessarily be seeing yet. The aero team are doing a great job finding performance in the tunnel and we’re going to be bringing that to races over the coming weeks and months with a package coming mid-way through the season that we will hope will bring some significant performance to us. Yes, there are definitely signs of improvement. I think there’s a certain positivity in the team at the moment. Morale is still pretty good, and that’s all we can ask of everyone: just fighting hard, not giving up and keep on bringing performance to the car.”
With Formula 1 set to introduce a raft of rule changes for the 2021 season, it means that all current development will essentially become moot by the end of next year. Asked about whether she would view 2020 as a write-off as a result of this, she said that the stable rule changes between this year and next actually means they’re in a state of constant development: “Nothing is a write-off at Williams, ever. It never has been and it never would be, regardless of where we are. It’s just not our mindset a Williams. We don’t write a season off just because we aren’t doing well.”
“For us, at the moment, we’re really looking at ’19 and ’20 very much as almost two seasons, where it’s just evolution and development and we’ve just got to keep bringing performance at each and every race, and as I said earlier, we’ve definitely seen that we’ve done that, we’re closing the gap to the ninth-placed team and we’ve got to keep doing that as the season progresses and we’re looking at obviously what 2020 looks like from a development perspective, what we’re going to be focusing our resources and attention on, to make sure that we certainly do a whole lot better job next year for us.”
“And then again, we’ve got to look at ’21 and make sure we’ve got the right resources in place and the focus in place to take advantage of that situation. Clearly, as everyone knows and have talked about a lot, ’21 could be a really great opportunity for us with the cost cap that’s coming and with whole new technical regulations.”