Lance Stroll, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Lowe: Williams targets mid season recovery

2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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Williams’s Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe says that the team aim to bring their car’s performance up to its intended level by ‘mid season’.

Speaking to the media following a disappointing qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix, Lowe accepted that the performance of the team’s FW41 was ‘bad’

“You see the pace is really quite bad,” Lowe conceded. “This is because this is something that is really disrupting the drivers’ ability to drive the car anywhere near the limit. There are many things that are good about the car and they are not able to show themselves because the car is let down by some particular aspects.”

Lowe says Williams have already put in place a development strategy to recover their performance, but that it will not be fully realised until the middle of the season.

“We’ve put in place a programme with the team, which we call a recovery programme, to bring back the performance of the car to a level that we intended it to operate,” Lowe explains. “That programme is timed up to the mid season point.”

When asked, Lowe did not want to offer a specific race weekend as a target for the programme to be completed. However, RaceFans understands that the fix will not be in place before the German Grand Prix.

With both cars set to start tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix from the rear of the field, Lowe believes Williams’s weaknesses are enhanced by the nature of the Barcelona circuit.

“There are some issues with the car, which fortunately we think we understand,” says Lowe.

“We’re very busy doing a lot of work to fix those issues. But none of those fixes are in place today, unfortunately. Which is why we were struggling so much at a circuit which is a really unforgiving track, I would say, for underlying car performance.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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Posted on Categories 2018 F1 season, 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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  • 13 comments on “Lowe: Williams targets mid season recovery”

    1. I truly wish Lowe and Williams the best in their efforts to remedy the stunningly remarkable poor drivability of the FW41. Watching the onboard shots of their drivers struggling at Barcelona has been most painful. It appears the car is fighting itself every step of the way through every single corner all around the track. If they can achieve some level of drivability by midseason that will be an accomplishment.

    2. The car, the behaviour, its pose on track, looks wrong, looks odd, as if something basic was messed up. The ride height is way up.

    3. It’s total lack of drive ability reminds me of the days of minardi, hrt and others that have fallen by the wayside.

      The fact that it takes so long to identify and fix must be incredibly frustrating for all involved.

    4. I’m probably overreacting, but does anyone else think there are issues with the drivers’ attitudes? Sirotkin seems depressed and incoherent after every interview, while Stroll is always quick to blame the car and never himself. Maybe the drivers need counselling? A more measured outlook could help them perform better too.

    5. Dan (@canon1753)
      13th May 2018, 5:23

      Doesn’t help their quickest driver this weekend is Kubica

    6. Robert K. wasn’t complimentary about the balance of the car either.
      There was a slow-mo image during the qualifying that showed the car sliding and the outside rear wheel oscillating badly. Not sure if this is a symptom or part of the root cause.
      Yes, we hope they find a fix …. soon. If it is expected to take 7 weeks to implement, it must be pretty deep in the chassis.
      Is that carbon fiber and epoxy I smell.??

    7. I’m sure there’s a simple reason why it can’t be done, but if this year’s car is so bad why can’t Williams put this year’s engine and gearbox into last year’s car? Maybe the chassis is a bit out of date, but they don’t like this year’s chassis, so why not change.
      We’ve had 4 races this season, plus a some pre-season test sessions (not a full compliment due to rain), and, at least as far as we can tell, this “car problem” wasn’t apparent until now.
      I’m sorry, but I get frustrated when I hear about problem cars. It is an easy excuse for poor human performance. Whether it’s poor driver performance, poor management, poor engineering, poor set up, etc, blaming the car simply gives the poor performers the opportunity to go home at the end of each day believing their poor performance is acceptable. This car was designed to win races, so the responsibility fall upon Williams to make that happen.
      Like it or not, this car is part of the team, so the team shouldn’t be pointing the finger at it, they should be accepting some of the fault in its poor performance belongs with themselves.

      1. It’s still faster than last year’s car just not by the amount other teams have improved and they can’t solve its problems if they aren’t running it

        1. But how much of that improvement is due to just the power unit and gearbox?

          1. @drycrust

            The gearbox is a Williams gearbox and integral to the chassis, and next to impossible to guess.

            New track surface, Stroll being a bit better, power unit, and chassis etc could all be contributing factors to the nearly 2-second improvement.

            It still doesn’t change the fact you can’t develop a car if you aren’t running it. They’ve gone for concepts like the air intakes, front wing, and barge boards that likely have greater potential than last years conservative design, but they’re struggling to get them to all work as designed.

      2. @drycrust, there were a lot of people saying in the pre-season tests that the car was already looking like a unstable ill handling disaster in pre-season testing, so the signs that this car was a bit of a disaster were there right from the start.

        Unfortunately, it seems that most people preferred to blame the drivers for the sin of not being Kubica – now that Kubica has driven the car and couldn’t get it any further up the grid than their regular drivers could, perhaps only now are people finally beginning to accept that the design of the car is quite fundamentally flawed.

        As for the question of bolting the new parts onto the old chassis, unfortunately that would necessitate re-engineering that chassis to also accommodate the halo, which is not a trivial task. The effort doesn’t really seem to be worth the investment, since you’d then have to also try and make up for at least six months of development by your rivals (if not more) since that car last raced – by that point, you’re probably better off focussing your resources on your 2018 car.

        1. Thanks for the reply. I had forgotten about Halo.

    8. Alex Wurz has been quoted as saying that people within the team (He regularly hangs out at Williams during race weekends as he has a lot of friends there) have told him that the biggest problem on the car is the diffuser which has been stalling & there at a loss as to why.

      This is why the back end seems so unstable & seems to catch the drivers out suddenly when it starts to slide.

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