Williams pleased with reliaibility gains

2014 F1 season

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Williams chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson believes the team are starting to get to grips with the reliability challenge presented by the new 2014 cars.

“Despite the fairly mediocre mileage we’ve done I can see light at the end of the tunnel on our case,” said Nelson.

Most teams have increased their mileages each day during the course of the Jerez test, with the notable exception of Renault-engined Red Bull who made an early departure from the Spanish track after a series of failures.

“Obviously Renault have got some kind of nightmare going on but that may just be one thing,” said Nelson. “The battery might be a little bit smaller and overheating, or whatever it is. And then that could really stymie them.”

“We’re obviously not party to that information. But from us and the systems and car side, working with Mercedes, we should be fairly confident.”

Nelson said the complexity of the new power units and associated systems was the main cause of problems.

“We’ve had reliability issues which will come as no surprise as much of the other people have. A lot of is, most of it is tied up with the new power units.

“So we’ll have to improve, (a), the way we’re working with them, and (b), some of the ancillary systems that we’re running off them.”

Nelson identified the new electronic braking systems as a particular source of trouble.

“Brake-by-wire is a massive, massive subject – you’ve got control system mapping, you’ve got driver mapping to make the driver comfortable, you’ve got the state of charge control where you’re trying to keep the battery topped up at the right time, you’ve got temperatures and vibration… and that’s just one part of the whole system.”

“And then you’ve got turbos and MGUs all the rest of it. It’s a very complicated problem.”

Nelson added the team were “happy” with the progress made on two of the biggest challenges posed by the new rules: cooling the power units and reducing their weight.

The four Mercedes-powered teams have collectively covered more mileage than their rivals, and Nelson said the pooling of data between them has helped accelerate their development.

“We all have exactly the same engine – we may have slightly different cooling arrangements but nothing major, and we’re very happy with the relationship we’ve got with Mercedes.

“They want us to do well, for instance mileage this week it helps us, the more miles we do, the happier they’ll be. So they’re clearly helping us to fulfil our objectives.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Williams pleased with reliaibility gains”

  1. The Blade Runner (@)
    31st January 2014, 15:40

    The start of a new, successful era for Williams? Discuss.

    1. I think they can wrap up a few podiums with Massa’s experience and Bottas’s raw speed

    2. I do hope so as Williams is a legendry team and deserve better that what they got last year. I like the look of the car too, hope its fast top 5 teams I hope.

    3. Pat Symonds plus a few recruits from the other teams plus the new Mercedes power plant, of course Massa and Bottas, seems they are not messing about in 2014.. hope they do perform..

    4. I dont know. As is, we already have too many contenders for front runners: Red Bull, Ferrari, Mclaren, Lotus, and now Williams too? Thats already half of the grid.

      1. Minus Red Bull and Question Mark Lotus.

        There will, inevitably, be teams that become less competitive (like McLaren last year), so Williams just ‘replace’ them.

      2. You can probably count Lotus out of that list.

        1. @kelsier

          How can you say that? They’ve made miracles the past 2 years, maybe they can make it 3. :)

  2. Really hope williams come on strong this year,especially with young bo77as. The only way is up from last year !

  3. whats with red bull and all their problems and how long till the FIA step in and givem the old hand? :)

  4. I will be happy to see both Massa and Williams having a good run this year. They both went through a lot last couple of years. They need a change of course.

  5. So far, I’m impressed with Mercedes as an engine provider. I hope that Williams can make the most of it, even more so than Mercedes works, McLaren, and Force India, though I hope for good things for Hulk as well.

  6. That characteristical rear end treatment on the Williams is always nice to see. I know it is early days but from what I’ve read about the other teams and from this article Williams are bound to have a good car for the season even if that means not beating both the “mother” team or mclaren, 3rd is nice too…

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