Claire Williams says she wishes the budget cap was brought forward to 2020, rather than 2021, due to needing two development programmes this year.
With Formula 1 set for a huge technical and sporting regulation shake-up for 2021, the final year of the current regulations means that all the teams have to make a decision at some point this year to give up on their current car’s development and switch over to developing their new car.
For the big, well-resourced teams, this isn’t much of an issue as they can run two programmes and slowly scale up and down the respective development routes. However, for the likes of Williams – one of the smallest teams on the grid with no manufacturer support to bolster them, it’s a big ask to be able to run two such intensive development programmes.
With a budget cap also set to be introduced next year, Williams says she wishes the cap had been brought forward for this season to prevent the big teams being able to spend their way to an early advantage with the new regulations.
“We can’t afford to run parallel programs, so we’re going to – at some point – make that decision to transition over and put the full resource behind the FW44, so it’s not easy.” said Williams at Thursday’s FIA press conference.
“And with hindsight, which is a wonderful thing, I wish we had brought the cost cap in for this year so that we didn’t have this issue with the top three teams being able to spend as much as they possibly can going into 2021.” Williams explained.
“It’s going to be a piece of financial management from all us to manage those resources going into next year and just being able to do the best job we can.”
The team are entering 2020 on a stronger footing than last year, with the new car performing much better than last season’s FW43. Williams says that, despite the 2021 programme looming over them, their intention is still have a full development path for this year’s car until as late in the year as possible: “Clearly this is an important year for us, we’ve had two bad campaigns over 2018 and 2019 and we’ve always said we’ve got to get this year right. I think we’ve started on a good path, but we’ve still got work to do.”
“We have plans in the pipeline to ensure that we’re bringing upgrades over the course of this year, but probably like most other teams up and down the paddock, those upgrade pipelines are going to be, somewhat curtailed, maybe versus last year, or the year before because we all have limited resources at the back end of this field, unfortunately. “
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