Williams say the changes to the nose regulations for 2015 presented the biggest challenge when designing their new FW37.
Work began on the new car before the FW36 hit the track 12 months ago, but changes had to be made to accommodate new rules aimed at altering the unsightly noses which were a feature of many of last year’s cars.
“The change in regulations offered us a slight headache,” said Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds.
“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.”
Williams also made compromises late last year as they pushed on with the development of the FW36 to ensure they took third place in the constructors’ championship.
“The desire to beat Ferrari to third place in the constructors’ in 2014 meant we pushed our development through to late autumn,” said Symonds, “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.”
However the team believe they have found gains by exploiting the basic lightness of last year’s car, as the minimum weight for this year has risen.
“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,” Symonds explained. “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.”
Following Williams’ best season since 2003, Symonds expects closer competition from their rivals this year. “The more rule stability there is, the closer the field gets,” he said.
“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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