Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Albert Park, 2018

Williams plans major Barcelona upgrade to address FW41 “weaknesses”

2018 F1 season

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Williams will bring a significant upgrade for its F1 car at the fifth race of the season in Spain.

The upgrade was planned before the team’s disappointing first weekend of the season in Australia according to deputy team principal Claire Williams.

“Any ambitions that we may have had – I’m not seeing that we did – to be fighting in the top three are probably a little bit far off from us,” said Williams. “But that’s our responsibility.”

Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Albert Park, 2018
2018 Australian Grand Prix in pictures
“We need to make sure we very quickly get on top of the weaknesses in the race car that we have and bring developments over the coming races. We’ve got a huge development package for Barcelona and we’ll have to wait and see where that puts us.”

Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin qualified 13th and 19th in Melbourne. Stroll fell to 14th at the flag while Sirotkin retired early on.

Speaking after the race chief technical officer Paddy Lowe said it was too soon to judge the competitive order of the whole field.

“Australia is a little bit of an outlier in quite a few ways,” he said. “Probably better to see where we sit after another race or two. And that applies to our own performance as well.”

“One of the most unfortunate things for me was Sergey not getting to finish a race. From what appears to be a freak bit of bad luck. And therefore he’s not got the one race under the belt that you would want as a rookie driver to launch your Formula One career.”

Williams suspect Sirotkin’s retirement was caused when a plastic bag went into his brake duct.

“We have residue, it looks like a melted plastic bag. Lance actually said he saw some plastic bags at turn one very early in the race. And that’s where we see disc temperatures started to go through the roof at exactly that part of the circuit.

“We’ll go and analyse it but the pieces do seem to add up well to it being a complete blockage of the brake duct on the right rear. All the temperatures going through the roof, eventually catching fire, and then we lost all the sensors from that corner progressively as they got burned and eventually the seal has gone on the caliper, probably, because there’s fluid leak and the pedal went to the floor.”

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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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34 comments on “Williams plans major Barcelona upgrade to address FW41 “weaknesses””

  1. so….new drivers?

    1. I think at this point, this isn’t even really the problem.

      Through testing, trackside reporters seemed to be in agreement that the Williams looked to be a real handful.

      I must say, early signs of Lowe’s first Williams car are pretty disappointing. I was expecting more given the budget provided by their drivers.

      Let’s wait and see.

      1. But it’s too easy to give the drivers a free pass on those problems. Part of their job is giving proper feedback to develop the car. I doubt Stroll is strong in that part of the game.

        1. That’s what Kubica is for, to be fair.

        2. Sirotkin, due to his engineering background, might be better in that department once he gets up to speed in F1. Stroll though….. is still figuring out how to drive after spending an entire season in the sport. It might take him a few more seasons once he’s involved in car feedback.

      2. angelic (@angelicdarkness)
        29th March 2018, 21:09

        Budget provided by their drivers

        Thats the main part. Williams have literally prostituted their car for money.

    2. +1000
      Stroll celebrating not being eleminated in q3 was easily the cringiest moment of the aus gp.

      1. And he only made the cut by about. 03 of a second.

        1. So what. He still made it.

    3. @lancer033

      Beat me to it. I was about to type in the exact comment once I read the headline of the article.

  2. Last tave win was at Barcelona and the car burnt down before scrutineering

  3. I think Williams have more to explain than McLaren. Having real sponsors, drivers’ money and the best engine, they shouldn’t really be near the back of the grid.

    1. Real sponsors for one last year.

    2. Mclaren has investors\owners with huge wallets, so they can just throw money into the team if needed.
      Aaaand they make road cars which is also a lot of money.
      Williams has nothing.

  4. Wooohoo so williams are getting new drivers then!

    Giddyup! :D

  5. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    29th March 2018, 13:13

    Kubica returning? Seems like the drivers are the weakness.

  6. So they’re replacing Stroll in Barcelona?

  7. Why are they waiting for Barcelona to put Kubica in the car?

    1. It is simple. He doesn’t have the money.

  8. It’s easy to immediately blame the drivers (As many here no doubt will), But having watched a lot of OnBoards over the Melbourne weekend it’s pretty obvious that the car is a big chunk of the problem. It just looks like it’s lacking rear grip with it constantly looking super nervous, Especially in the medium/high speed stuff.

    1. This is my point.

      Everyone’s quick to jump on the drivers, but it’s not as if the car was setting the world on fire in the hands of Kubica, either.

      It’s very easy to jump on the bandwagon, we all want Kubica in there. But at this point, the car needs fixing, and it’s definitely been a disappointment thus far.

      Still, early days.

  9. You know your driver line-up is bad when “everyone knows” the cars would go (and develop) faster if you replaced your drivers with “limited arm movement” Kubica and “for sure slower than you post 2009” Massa.

    1. Massa 2017 time was 1:24.4xx Stroll 2018 was 1:24.2xx. It’s very hard to believe that this year car can’t go faster than last year, engine improvements alone should give them that 0.2 difference.

      1. this years car is completely different to last years.
        so it actually might be possible for it to be slower))

        remember how Mclaren decided to make a completely new car in 2013 and actually made it slower?

  10. Stroll Grand Prix, d.b.a. “Williams”.

  11. I really wonder how on earth they expected to fight in the top 3…
    Australia was embarrassing i dare to say (based on the previous 4 years in Melbourne), the car seems to be difficult & ”unreliable” (overheating & lack of engines modes) & definitely Stroll & Sirotkin inexperience make things even worse
    They would have been dead last in both qualy & race if the STR duo hadn’t done those mistakes…

  12. The struggles they’re having with the car are quite significant. I don’t recall seeing them start a season so poorly in a long time. I’m not saying that Sirotkin and Stroll don’t have potential, but they definitely lack experience. Which is crucial in developing a car. That’s why Haas so far has refused to take on young talent, simply because they can’t afford it. But of course… Haas is a team with ambition, looking to some day fight for wins and championships. Williams F1 seems to be merely a pet project of a larger corporation that’s concerned with shareholders and quarter profits. Sirotkin could have used a year as a test driver and let Kubica take his place. But alas… talent hasn’t been a priority at Williams for several years now.

    1. Haas spends a lot less money on development, remember they dont even have a real base like williams.
      Haas has a financially stable mother company.

      Williams makes very little money outside of F1 (if any at this moment at all).

      Also about sitotkin, he already spent a year as a 3rd and test driver at renault, so there is no real point of doing just that in another team.

  13. Again – everyone’s burying the drivers.

    Williams’ car development has been underwhelming to say the least, and it doesn’t bode well that over the last few years their in-season development has generally gone backwards not forward.

    No point worrying about their drivers because even Hamilton or Alonso are not going to make that car look any better.

    They seriously need to sort out their engineering and aero departments.

  14. ForzaAlonsoF1
    30th March 2018, 9:05

    Can anybody tell me why Paddy Lowe jumped ship to Williams? I’m a new father, and keeping up with things is a struggle sometimes.

  15. I am certain stroll and sirotkin know nothing about setting up an f1 car, and that is why the cars was all over the place. Set the car up, and. 6 seconds a lap faster a day fighting near top 10

  16. If the updates are going to address Williams weaknesses, will we see the first ever ejection seat in a modern F1 car?

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