Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Silverstone, 2018

Lowe apologises to Williams drivers after new rear wing causes spins

2018 British Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Williams has blamed the new rear wing it introduced this weekend for an aerodynamic problem which caused both drivers to spin during qualifying.

The team’s chief technical officer Paddy Lowe told media including RaceFans the team believes the new part is causing an aerodynamic stall when the drivers deactivate DRS. The car’s airflow does not reattach properly, which led to the spins.

“We brought in some new pieces yesterday and we need to do more work but the presumption [is] we have an intermittent problem with the floor stall related only to DRS,” Lowe explained in response to a question from RaceFans.

“It only happens when you use the DRS and it doesn’t recover well enough for the subsequent corner. And we can only assume now it is related to the new pieces even though we did a proper introduction and seemed to have a stable platform as we finished FP2 yesterday.”

Lowe suspects the precise cause of stalls is related to how the new part interacts with the rest of the car, rather than the wing itself. “I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with the wing itself it’s just something in terms of the car with everything in combination,” he said.

Lance Stroll was unable to set a time in Q1 after spinning into a gravel trap. Sergey Sirotkin also spun but was able to continue. He ended up 18th, slowest of the drivers who set a time.

Lowe described the problem as “something we’ve never seen before on this car or indeed any other car.”

The team discovered the problem during practice and made a change which they thought had fixed the problem. “That was obviously a mistake in terms of the diagnosis,” Lowe admitted.

Lowe revealed he apologised to Stroll and Sirotkin in the team’s debrief today “for not giving them the equipment they needed.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

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...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2018 F1 season, F1 newsTags

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 27 comments on “Lowe apologises to Williams drivers after new rear wing causes spins”

    1. Gemma St. Ivans
      7th July 2018, 19:24

      A sad state of affairs at Williams. Sir Frank is there to witness it. Shame.

      1. He is still the team principle; thus ultimately responsible.

    2. So you’d expect them to have both start from the pitlane then, right? Fit the older spec wing to be sure it doesn’t happen in the race. Stroll will have is car rebuild only tomorrow anyway and Sirotkin is only ahead of Stroll and Hartley so they wouldn’t even lose much from that.

      1. @bascb ”Stroll will have is car rebuild only tomorrow anyway”
        – Not really, though. He didn’t suffer any damage from his spin out of the track, so nothing really to repair there, LOL.

        1. you’d think that gravel bed would have shaved off pretty much anything below the floor, possibly damaged a radiator or two and chinked bargeboards at the front @jerejj, so they’d probably want to put new bits on.

          1. you’d think that gravel bed would have shaved off pretty much anything below the floor

            So… um … nothing then? I mean isn’t the floor by definition the bottom of the car?

      2. They can still use the new wing, @bascb.
        Nobody expects them to get into DRS range anyway ;-)

        1. hm, you do have a point there @coldfly!

        2. @coldfly, @bascb They can also get DRS when they are being lapped though ;)

          Still, they can simply disengage the DRS a bit earlier to let the airflow stabilize.

    3. Paddy is experienced enough to be starting to make improvements for Williams at this stage of the season….when we reach the F1 break, will we be debating did he resign or was he sacked???

      1. He owns part of the team.

        1. While that is true….he is however a minority shareholder… he could still lose his job within the team…that would not affect his shareholding….ps Ron Dennis was a shareholder and look what happened to him

        2. While that is true….he is however a minority shareholder… he could still lose his job within the team…that would not affect his shareholding….ps Ron Dennis was a shareholder of McLaren and look what happened to him

    4. Williams used to be the best engineers. Now they’re bringing stuff that’s dangerously untested.

      1. Looks a bit like McLaren

    5. Gee, if only they could thoroughly test new parts in private or group test sessions before using them on a race weekend.

    6. Management having to apologise to drivers … one of the biggest drawbacks of having the drivers pay the team instead of the other way around like it should be.

      1. Because cars flying off track because of a design flaw isn’t something that warrants an apology? Or that it’s uncommon in any situation for people to apologize for mistakes made, regardless of rank. Mercedes apologized to their drivers for the mess in Austria even though they pay Hamilton a fortune.

    7. Williams and McLaren seem to have forgotten how to build good F1 cars. Sad state of affairs, really. At this point Williams may as well become a Mercedes B team like Haas is to Ferrari.

      1. Ego: Williams’ historical accomplishments would probably prevent this from happening …..

      2. You can’t really say that about McLaren. A lot of the top teams in f1 have copied A lot of McLarens design. Meanwhile Williams seemed to have looked at all the top teams took bits of their cars bolted it on theirs and just hoped for the best

    8. If you look at the Williams car they seemed to have copied designs from Ferrari, mercedes and redbull but didn’t bother testing if it all will work on their car and have just hoped for the best.

    9. All the teams research and copy the other teams. Read something from Patrick Head I believe, about using high resolution photographs, “Like everyone else does”.
      The trick is to snag what fits your design philosophy at the time, eg, to rakeor not, wings around the flat floor, diffuser details etc.
      What is a mystery with Williams, is that they are not expecting to have a full-on solution till after the summer break. What is it that takes so long. ? Must be structural or aero directly influenced by structural components.
      Certainly wish them all the best.
      Just wondering if the Silverstone bumps are affecting the aero.? You know they are, just how and how much.

      1. Based on comments made much earlier in the season, the problem does indeed appear to be a fundamental design flaw, rather than any specific part not performing as expected; so it seems like the required fix is not so far short of a complete redesign of the car.

        The thing that’s a mystery to me (no longer a response to your comment) is how so many people can find it so extraordinary that the design of an incredibly complex piece of technology can sometimes go wrong. I also think there is a bit of a loss of perspective at times; it may be painful for a team with many championships to their name to be last and struggling to move forward, but the difference between the fastest car around this track and the Williams is about 3% – being within 3% of the best version of anything isn’t usually a sign of incompetence, more a sign of how tough the competition is.

      2. @rekibsn, exactly – whilst it is more common for smaller teams to copy larger teams, since the larger teams usually have the most resources to throw at development, we have seen larger teams copy parts from smaller teams as well.

        A few years ago, for example, Newey admitted that he’d copied the exhaust design of Sauber’s car (back in 2012 when the teams were using the Coanda style exhausts), as well as copying their vented nose cone – equally, in 2017 and in this season we’ve seen Ferrari and Red Bull copy parts from their rivals.

    10. Frank: Did anyone ever tell you, “When you hire family, you don’t get results: you get relatives.” Williams as well as Maca have become an embarrassment to their legacy. Very sad.

    11. To be fair, things like this happen when testing is essentially heavily restricted. More wealthy teams can afford to use scale models in eye wateringly expensive wind tunnels but teams with smaller budgets have to take chances here and there.

    Comments are closed.