Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Silverstone, 2018

Williams not giving up on 2018 F1 car concept

2018 British Grand Prix

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Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe says the team is not giving up on the concept behind its 2018 Formula 1 car despite its latest setback.

The team languishes at the bottom of the championship table having only scored points at a single race so far this year. Both cars had to start from the pits at Silverstone when the team belatedly discovered a new rear wing upgrade was causing its diffuser to stall when DRS was deactivated.

However when asked by RaceFans, Lowe said the team will not abandon the new aerodynamic concept it introduced with the FW41.

“I think we’ll just keep doing the best we can with this car,” he said. “We do keep making steps. We will migrate these steps to make them more simply purely relevant to next year rather than things that are not only relevant to this car.”

Lowe said the team can make progress for next season while solving the problems with its current car.

“You work more and more, even on the current car, with things that are relevant to next year. It doesn’t mean you stop doing anything because you can work on things with the current car that are just as relevant this year as next year.”

After the race Lowe explained how the team diagnosed the “catastrophic” rear wing problem.

“We put some new parts on the car, most particularly a rear wing on Friday, and we did our normal evaluations to check we had all the stability that we need on such parts, especially around the rear end. We adopted those parts, then we went also making some other changes overnight that you do normally on Friday: adjustments to cooling, change from what we call Friday floors to Saturday race floors which are a little bit lighter.

“And then we found this problem which was intermittent but really quite catastrophic as we saw with the cars in qualifying. On one car it happened on one DRS zone and on the other one the other. They were each fine in the other DRS zone so it’s intermittent like that.

“In that situation it’s really such an extreme loss of downforce that it’s not really safe. Of course we could consider without using any DRS but that’s not a way to compete. So we don’t really know exactly what the cause is. The best thing to do is to go back to a known combination of parts to run for the race which we did and we had no problems with the race at all.”

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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...

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22 comments on “Williams not giving up on 2018 F1 car concept”

  1. What’s that about flogging a dead horse eh?………time to move on guys, I understand you probably don’t have the money to start from scratch but this design is an obvious failure.

    1. The multi-year evidence since 2014 is that Williams decision making process is flawed from the perspective of making the team more competitive. Why would this decision be any different? Williams has been in a downward spiral for a while and it is hard to see the things turning around without a major shakeup at the top. I suspect the Canadian billionaire will take his money to Force India next year.

    2. Villie has just stated the team is dead and has been critical of the management in the past , Alan Jones said a few years back ‘Claire was a poor choice, unqualified and out of her depth in F1 on any level including PR’.
      You would think Frank would of listened to the words of his world champs., now his chickens are coming home to roost.
      Merge or buyout only future for Williams

      1. From the PR point of view though, Claire has been doing an ok job, nothing spectacular but hardly a disaster either – so maybe former champions can be wrong about things too?

        1. Omg Will are you Serious? The old champs are on the money, Williams is a basket case on every level through their own bad management.

          1. Ok, so what’s this PR abomination that’s her fault?

  2. Sush meerkat
    13th July 2018, 16:26

    The best thing to do is to go back to a known combination of parts to run for the race which we did and we had no problems with the race at all.”

    No problems? Did you get points Paddy? Did you?

    1. Stroll seemed to reckon it was the strategy which cost them, not pace… For what that’s worth.

      1. Sush meerkat
        13th July 2018, 17:26

        Yeah I saw that article, you know how some sport stars have nicknames

        Lance “not my fault” Stroll

  3. As a software architect, I’ve been in the position of having to decide whether to start from a clean slate, or try and refactor a system in place. As long as the decision making is done rationally and without any emotional attachment to the as-is solution, that is a sensible decision that can be justified and supported.

    If Williams have done their due diligence to arrive at this decision, then we can only wish them well as they work on getting to terms with their car, and hope they can solve it in a timely manner. I’m sure they’re more cognizant than us of the fact that 2019 brings with it its own aero changes at the very front of the car (which govern pretty much everything else), and they have a clear point when they switch efforts to that car.

    1. That surely the best way to assess the problems. But it’s not what Williams choose to do.

      “You work more and more, even on the current car, with things that are relevant to next year.”

      Not only they didn’t concentrate on patching current bugs, but they now trying to adjust their flaw product to fit different system next year…

  4. Yeah…

    What was that definition of insanity, repeating the same action expecting a different result?

    IF I was in charge in Williams, I’d throw out everything and just go for broke. The results aren’t going to change much in any direction so why not. Introduce a whole different rear wing split in four with horizontal vanes in the middle, or a sidepod thats C shaped, or a V or L, whatever. Just go big or go broke.

    I know it’s easy for me to say, it’s not my money on the line but if you have nothing to loose, why not?

    1. What was that definition of insanity, repeating the same action expecting a different result?

      Unfortunately one of the means of finding a fault is to actually repeatedly do the same action to see if the outcome does change.

      I’d throw out everything and just go for broke.

      No, throwing out everything isn’t really the right approach. While that could work, it might not, in which case you’d have to repeat the process again. The correct approach is to understand (or at least have some theories) what’s wrong with the current rear wing – diffuser combination. Once you understand what’s wrong (or got a sound theory) with the current setup then you can not only fix the problem, but maybe you could use what you’ve learnt to give you a performance advantage over your competitors. It could be the cost to resolve the problem is very low.
      When you’re trying to fix a problem one of the first questions to ask is “What’s supposed to happen?”. Based upon the comments above it seems what’s supposed to happen is the downforce producing drag on the car is reduced when the DRS is open, but the downforce remains. The resolution to the problem is how difficult is it to get from “What’s happening” to “What’s supposed to happen”.
      It could be that if Williams were to resolve this problem they might have an excellent remainder of the season.

  5. This is all old info from “after the race”? As in 5 days ago? Christ.

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      13th July 2018, 22:25

      I guess saving articles/ news / interviews up for the quiet media days between races. No different to newspapers. News gets released only when it’s best for those who report it.

      1. @peppermint-lemon At this point in the season it’s not so much a question of “saving” as it not being physically possible to run everything the instant we receive it (obviously I’m speaking only for RaceFans here).

        For example take an article such as this, which includes some material sourced immediately after the race, and other information which was received some time later after requests were made, more information obtained and so on.

    2. Brigitta Gyimesi
      13th July 2018, 23:53

      If you listen to a Thursday press conference or e.g. Sky’s post-race interview rounds, you can hear bits and pieces there that only get released in a “news format” days later. Or there’s the McLaren story of last week which came out in 4-5-6 separate articles over the course of 2-3 days and obviously the journalists weren’t conducting as many separate interviews with Brown & co. as there were news pieces.

  6. 2018 has given up on Williams if nothing else.

    This year teams are pretty close.. Even the slowest teams are in ballpark.

    But that means if your organisation has any slight issue like unstable funding, poor drivers, poor leadership, you are instantly near last place.

    And this is happening to Williams. I think their drivers are poor, and funding problematic. That explains atlast 1s per lap of driver and car performance.

  7. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    13th July 2018, 22:22

    Williams are in the same difficult place Honda were. They need Ross Brawn.

  8. Brigitta Gyimesi
    13th July 2018, 23:06

    …when the team belatedly discovered a new rear wing upgrade was causing its diffuser to stall when DRS was activated.

    Isn’t this supposed to read “deactivated”?

    1. BG … at first thought I would agree, but I think there is more to this than meets the eye. And yes, there have been several different reports noting a stalling diffuser on de-activation of the DRS and in this case, on activation.
      From what I understand on the workings of the diffuser, is that a higher pressure behind the car (DRS open) will reduce stalling, lower pressure (DRS closed) promoting stalling, but a complicating factor will be ride height and rake (both will affect diffuser angle) and this is related to downforce from the rear wing.
      Open the DRS, ride height goes up, diffuser angle and rake increase, if the diffuser stalls, even less downforce.
      Close the DRS, until the suspension settles down, you have high rake, a stalled diffuser and only the wing contributing to downforce. Since the wing is only a small portion of the total rear downforce, running along at high speed with a stalled diffuser should be a pretty exciting. Does this sound like the instability problem they have talked about.?
      Clearly the solution is not simple, if it was, the team would have done it. They have said that their BIG upgrade is coming mid season or so. The implication being that the changes are significant, likely structural in nature.
      They are clearly a very clever bunch and I am sure they will get it sorted. Sooner would be better.
      Best of luck to them.
      If there are any better explanations out there …. pitch in. Would lover to hear them.

  9. Well, when you realise you’ve got a dog on your hands, you have to make the decision to wipe the slate clean. Easier said than done.

    There is article on Autosport where Jacques says the team is dead, and sometimes, you’d have to agree with him.

    As I’ve said before, Williams is trying to hang on to its heritage, they are living in the past to a certain extent. In order to save her company, Claire Williams should and must get off her high horse and actually consider procuring some of the parts on their cars from the bigger teams. Trying to operate as a full fledged manufacturer in today’s climate is probably not the best business decision. Once again, easy to say, as a Williams, I’m sure she has an emotional connection to the team and its operation, but its a business first.

    Williams need a new direction. I think it will be manged better if it wasn’t in the hands of a Williams.

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