Williams aims to fix low-speed cornering weakness

2016 F1 season

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Williams has made correcting the low-speed cornering weakness of last year’s car a priority with the design of the new FW38, revealed today.

“It is no secret that the low speed performance of the FW37 didn’t match its high speed performance,” admitted chief technical officer Pat Symonds, “so a lot of time was spent looking into why this was and subsequently making changes, which we hope will improve the situation.”

“On top of this we looked at the normal physical obstacles to development that one always meets during the life of a car and tried to push those barriers back.”

Symonds described the FW38’s predecessor as “a pretty effective car” and said the team “concentrated on understanding the areas where we could improve it without losing the attributes which made it effective”.

Although Williams enjoys stability in its driver line-up, major technical staff and engine supplier, Symonds says there have been some significant changes behind the scenes.

“At Williams we are honest about our mistakes and try to learn from them,” he said. “Just as in the design of the car we always analyse strengths and weaknesses, so we do with the team.”

“This has led to several operational changes for 2016 which, although not particularly visible from the outside, should see the team better able to cope with the many variant scenarios that racing will inevitably throw at them.”

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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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6 comments on “Williams aims to fix low-speed cornering weakness”

  1. I really hope they’v done it, and the raceday fixes too. Third place in the championship looks like it’ll be very, very competitive this year.

    1. @lockup who do you think will be in the race for third place, then? I can only see Williams. RBR will move backwards before they go forwards again, STR will have an older and weaker PU, FI are cash-strapped as ever so not likely to make progress in the ranking (and certainly not the kind that makes them close the gap with Williams), Renault will probably have a very hard time in the first half of the season. And I don’t see it for McLaren yet. Sauber, Manor? Don’t think so.

      1. I’m thinking the Renault engine really will make up ground this year @mattds. The Red Bull aero won’t have the mistake it started last year with and I suspect Williams will still be short of downforce again so RBR will be able to take off some drag, relatively speaking.

        The late 2015 Ferrari engine was pretty good and I daresay STR will have the full works software and settings, versus the customer 2016 Merc, and their chassis is great. Like @todfod I rate Max and Carlos above Felipe and Valterri.

        I agree Williams should be ahead of FI. Honda? I go up and down about them. I read they say their turbo is now ‘about’ as big as the 2015 Merc and they’ve denied the Marca rumours about overheating but somehow it’s still in the vee. Who knows really until we see but it has a decent chassis and Nando driving it so I’m prepared for anything.

        Not saying Williams can’t do it, and I hope they do, but I reckon it’s going to be a fight.

        1. @lockup you may be right, after all we’re all speculating until the whole circus starts in Melbourne, and even then we won’t have a full picture yet.

          But from all the sounds I’ve heard coming from the Renault and RBR camp, I think this will be another transition year. RBR are expecting STR to beat them, especially in the first half of the year. And STR will have a very decent PU, but it still is last year’s PU which will probably, even with good factory support, not be on par with the Merc 2016 customer PU.

          Anyway, we’ll see. I’m thinking Williams will once again be a clear third in the championship, with possibly an interesting battle for fourth place between multiple teams.

  2. I think 3rd place in the WCC depends solely on Renault’s PU improvements. If Red Bull have a slightly improved reliability and performance, I’d expect Red Bull to have an equally competitive car as Williams this year.

    I also rate both the Red Bull drivers ahead of Bottas and Massa, and that should make the difference to bump Williams to 4th in the WCC.

    1. @todfod I wouldn’t rule out McLaren (who knows what Honda will bring) and Force India (they had a rather handy car by the end of last season) at this stage. Unlikely candidates to challenge for that third spot, but I don’t think it’s entirely out of the question until we see some cars running.

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