Lance Stroll, Williams, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Stroll: Williams has made no progress with “terrible” FW41

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Lance Stroll describes Williams’ 2018 car as “terrible” and says it hasn’t made any progress with the FW41 since the first race of the season.

Asked in Brazil to reflect on his season so far, Stroll said: “The couple of races I scored points were good. But I really had to work for it.

“Generally the car hasn’t been there, it’s been terrible to drive. The performance just has been awful. That’s been frustrating but that’s how it is. I’ve digested it.”

The 20-year-old, who is in his second season with the team, is expected to move to Force India next year as a replacement for Esteban Ocon. Stroll isn’t confirming his plans yet, but said he’s “ready to wrap up” his difficult season.

“It’s been a very challenging year with the car. It just hasn’t been performing at all. So I’m ready to turn the page and move on.”

Despite having scored just six points to his 40 last year, Stroll believes he has made progress in his second full season of F1.

Lance Stroll, Williams, Hockenheimring, 2018
Stroll said Williams “hasn’t developed the car”
“If I take the car out of the equation I believe I’ve improved well as a driver and I’ve matured a lot. I’ve had a few good qualifyings where I’ve managed to get the car into Q2 and Q3 in Monza which is a big deal for us as a team, even though the position’s far from ideal.

“And I’ve had a couple of good races scoring points. I believe that it’s still been a good year in that sense.”

Although the team brought a mid-season upgrade package at the Hockenheimring, which chief technical officer Paddy Lowe described as a “big step” at the time, Stroll doesn’t believe any progress has been made with the FW41 since the first round.

“Overall I expected much more from us as a team this year and from the car, we haven’t developed the car at all. We have the same car that we had in Australia which is a bit of a shame.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

71 comments on “Stroll: Williams has made no progress with “terrible” FW41”

  1. Don’t worry Lance – we all understand and sympathise with the terrible terrible unfairness of you having to drive a Williams.
    Don’t worry though, you get a nice new car next season and then you can be a proper racer just like all the others and Vroom vroom off you go! ;)

    1. Do I sense some subtle sarkasm here?

      1. I’m not sure… It’s certainly subtle, isn’t it…?

  2. Why should they upgrade the car? With you driving and your dad paying., the team gets the same income regardless of out come. Might as well put all that money to next year’s car when they may have a financial plan that rewards progress

    1. Very well put!!

    2. Somehow I think that this statement has more to do with contract pay off negotiations (i.e. Williams not delivering on their contract should make it easier – cheaper – for Stroll to quit) than with a well founded analyses taking all in account @john-h, Nohns.

      1. Good point @bascb, that might well be it, rather then him just being an insufferable git :)
        Today I finally found time to watch (the highlights of) quali for the Brazil race, and it made me think how this it might have been the car, but that I have not seen any sign of Stroll actually improving compared to his last season. I guess we’ll get a clearer indication next year, both in his comparison with Perez, and in what the Williams can do with Russell and whoever (really, might it still be Kubica?) is in the 2nd seat. I sure hope that all the effort went into improving their 2019 car.

    3. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      17th November 2018, 0:33

      Very good point. Maybe we’ll have a Williams resurgence next year if they’ve been doing some saving this year. Even though the car is bad, he was regularly almost a second behind a past it Massa. They never had a hope this year with that line up.

  3. You guys are brutal! True in what you say but brutal!

    1. l think Lance’s sister would of got better results driving the willy, and Lance would of faired better as the pop star!!!

  4. I sort of misread the headline and thought it said Williams:”Terrible” driver has made no progress.”

    1. Adub Smallblock
      17th November 2018, 14:05


  5. Stephen Higgins
    16th November 2018, 17:31

    Great drivers transcend mediocre cars.

    Mediocre DRIVERS make excuses for them

    Right, Lance ??

    1. Stephen Higgins, in which case, the entire history of the sport must be filled with mediocre drivers given how many of them have made excuses or criticised their cars in a similar manner.

      1. @anon Well, yes. That’s why we only have a relatively small number of race winners compared to series entrants and an even slimmer number of champions.

        1. @optimaximal How many race winners and champions have driven an FW41?

          1. And then, how many race winners and champions have driven McLarens in the last decade?
            They certainly came up with excuses and criticism.

            Maybe Williams and McLaren should join forces under a new name: British Leyland F1.

  6. Is there any indication of what the problem is with the car.?
    Right from the first day of testing, the indication was that it was a dog that wouldn’t cooperate.
    Paddy L. seemed to indicate right from the start of the season that the car was really bad, that it couldn’t be fixed and that they weren’t in a position to fix it. All this seems bizarre in a world that can turn around component designs inside of a month two at the most for bigger bits.
    I can only assume it was corrupted from one end to the other and that it would have required a complete redesign of the whole car. Kubica was clearly reserved in his comments on the car and that also was from the first test. Did they totally give up on 2018 before they had left Australia …. seems to be the case, but why.??

    1. I’m not equipped with much knowledge on the technicalities of Williams this season, but I think one of the problems has been getting the tires to work, and given that even Mercedes has struggled at times with that, it must be extremely difficult and frustrating if you can never get these terrible tires to work.

    2. Something to do with the floor.

    3. If the car is so bad it needs a redesign, you could probably do that but by the time you have the new car the season is almost over and you have no time left for the 2019 car. So it makes more sense to just focus on 2019 right away, which is what they’ve done, hopefully. Same with McLaren.

    4. A nice write up of the issues here from Mark Hughes:

      There are many limitations to this year’s FW41, but the fundamental one is that a miscalculation was made in the concept about the level of cooling necessary, and that correcting this has involved crucial compromise in the most aerodynamically-sensitive area of a current Formula 1 car – that aft of the front wheels but ahead of the floor and sidepods.

      Wind tunnel correlation to the reality of track was particularly poor – and this was puzzling because simulation had previously been a Williams strength even when there were other limitations. Felipe Massa repeatedly said that the accuracy of simulation was considerably better here than at Ferrari during his time there.

      So how did a strength suddenly become a glaring weakness, apparently overnight? Had anything significant been changed? Only the wind tunnel belt. Therein lay a story. It was of a new specification, supposedly more advanced in that it simulated the texture of the track surface. It seems to have been here that a major part of the problem arose. The car was configured and developed around a flawed set of readings.

      1. Thank you Matt

  7. You can criticize the source, but I always remember what Bruno Senna said about driving crappy F1 cars: a bad car is harder to drive than a good one. If you think about it, the Williams has just as much power as the works Mercedes and similar amounts of downforce, roughly, but is much more unstable and unpredictable. Imagine, like in France, you are going into a corner at 200mph, trying to brake at 150m, and wondering if the DRS closing is going to stall the wing and fling you into the barriers at airplane landing speeds. Hamilton is not worrying about then he slams on the brakes.`

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      16th November 2018, 18:11

      Williams has just as much power as the works Mercedes

      lol. Found that funny.

      1. I’m certainly not sure why they must have similar amounts of downforce to Mercedes. And even hp. Is it a given that they would have as much as the works team? Same oil, same fuel, same programming etc etc?

        1. I doubt the Williams has anywhere near the grip, or the downforce, of the works Mercedes team.


          It is therefore our view that all power units supplied by one manufacturer should be identical, not only in terms of the dossier for each team being the same, but we also feel they should be operated in an identical way. With this in mind, we will expect all power units supplied by the same manufacturer to be:

          i) Identical according to the dossier for each team.
          and, unless a team informs us that they have declined any of the following, they should be:
          ii) Run with identical software and must be capable of being operated in precisely the same way.
          iii) Run with identical specifications of oil and fuel.

          The only available conclusion is that the Williams chassis not only sucks, it’s set up badly.

        2. given that they use the exact same spec of the engine, and use the same fuel, I’d be rather surprised if they did not have the same amount of power availabe @robbie. The only thing is that maybe they operate under somewhat more strict rules as to when they can use the maximum power.

          As for downforce levels, well’ if you compare F1 and all other single seater cars, you might be right that Williams has similarlly high level of downforce @dmw. I find that notion as absurd as @braketurnaccelerate however when we compare F1 cars. I’d think their car seems to be clearly far down on everyone else, even McLaren is better (but they have stupid level of drag when using their max downforce).

          Since the team has admitted that they got their calculations for cooling through the sidepod wrong and correcting that pretty much crippled their car concept, it’s no surprise the car is a handfull.

    2. Fast cars are not necessarily easy cars to drive. If you look at the benettons which schumacher drove those were pretty difficult cars to drive. Fast but difficult. There is philosophy in race car design that it is usually better to have little less peak peformance if you can make the the area wider at the same time. If you have really high peak performance but very narrow envelope you have a car that is theoretically extremely fast but also very twitchy and very difficult to set up as tiny changes can push the car outside of its optimum performance. A more forgiving car has less performance at peak but can achieve that performance in wider range of conditions.

      When jenson button was driving for honda before it became brawn the cars were not bad to drive. They were very good to drive according to jenson. They were just slow. Similarly when f1 had turbos and natural aspirated cars at one time the turbos were quicker but more difficult to drive. The naturally aspirated engine gives smooth power and reacts to throttle almost instantaneously. The turbo cars take a moment before they build up the boost and if you drop it on too low rpms the engine is simply dead. But once you get the turbos spooled up the thing moves like ferret on fire.

      Similarly different cars may have different aero results. A car that is fast could be understeery or oversteery. Or it could be neutral. It can be twitchy or calm. It can be fast in all kinds of conditions or it can be primadonna that is never just right. But the fast cars always have high downforce and low level of drag. And usually they have good reliable engine with high hp numbers. Not necessarily the biggest numbers but the fastest numbers. And the better the driver the narrower performance peak car can he handle. But the best car is not necessarily an easy car to drive (in the context of being an f1 car).

  8. José Lopes da Silva
    16th November 2018, 18:02

    I remember Alonso trashing his team mate in a Minardi. I would love to hear if the Minardi of 2001 was smooth or difficult, but the point is that Tarso Marques was nowhere near. The same way, the 1991 Jordan was smooth to drive, but apparently Schumacher made it smoother. Or the Lotus of 1991 and 1992 was always smooth in the hands of Hakkinen, rather than in the hands of his team mates that I can’t remeber (Bartels?).

    Stroll is not a cause, but a symptom of everything that is wrong with this sport today.

    1. The 2009 McLaren comes to mind as well. Hamilton put it on pole 4 times & had a couple race wins while Kovalainen was nowhere.

  9. On the bright side, the FW41 encouraged your dad to buy Force India, which in turn ensured they stayed on the grid and hundreds of people kept their jobs.

    Which is quite an achievement for a milk float.

  10. I try really hard not to see Stroll as an entitled, spoiled, rich playboy, but maaan he makes that hard…

    At this rate, I feel by the end of his career he will hold the title for MOST UNLIKABLE F1 DRIVER EVER… and competition on this category is fierce!! :/

    1. @arrows98: LOL! At least Stroll might win something in F1

    2. @arrows98

      Completely agree. I actually can’t find any redeeming qualities in Stroll whatsoever. Not only is he a rubbish driver, but he’s got the personality of a doorknob, and the attitude of an entitled doosh bag.

      There have been a decent amount of unlikeable personalities in F1, but you’re right, he takes the cake on all fronts.

    3. Think these comments pretty much sum up everyone’s opinion of Stroll. “Playboy” was a new one on me though (and gave me just a little bit of vomit). I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to scrub that mental picture away.

  11. The current williams car is faster than last year’s car. I’ve not done full season analysis but in those couple of races I’ve checked the current car is clearly faster. It only looks slow if you compare stroll’s times this year to massa’s lap times last year. Massa was like 1s average faster than stroll whereas stroll was slow and did not even improve during the season. I’m not denying the car of this year has no issues but it is clear without doubt that the biggest issue the lack of driver skill. When this rich kid gets to force india Perez will totally destroy him.

    1. @socksolid I’m pretty sure there are at least 2 analysis articles on this very site stipulating, with numbers to back it up, that this years car (along with the McLaren) was slower than last years on identical tracks (comparing Stroll & Alonso’s times for both seasons).

      1. I remember the last williams one which was about one race, don’t remember which. They just compared last year’s massa’s lap time to stroll’s lap time this year. Unless you quantify the driver skill level the direct lap time comparisons are just wrong. I could drive the current williams and claim it is 10 second slower than the last year car. Or stroll could do it and claim it is 1s slower. The mclaren one wasn’t much more in-depth either tbh but that one is a more direct comparison anyways.

  12. The Williams may be a mediocre car, but you have had the rookie Sirotkin quicker than Stroll a few time too same mediocre fact I would say he is a better driver than Stroll…..and its that which has probably stopped Stroll from swapping to Force India before the end of the season.
    I would even argue that Stroll is the worst driver on the grid at this time

  13. It is a bad craftsman who blames his tools.

  14. … we haven’t developed the car at all. We have the same car that we had in Australia which is a bit of a shame.

    In a business sense, that is good business. Upgrading the car costs money, which is in short supply at Williams.
    I guess the question is how much money will upgrading the car generate versus how much will they get if they don’t upgrade the car? From the sound of things, Williams had decided early on that regardless of whether they upgraded their car or not they were going to be last in the Constructors’ Championship. If so, then why not put more time and effort (and money) into the 2019 car? I agree with Lance that it is a shame this has happened, but the first priority of an F1 team is to stay solvent.
    We all need to balance our lifestyle to our budget. If someone pranged the car, should we pay for the car to be fixed or not? If the prang isn’t life threatening or affect its ability to get the necessary road worthiness certifications, then maybe we can ignore the damage and spend money on other stuff, but if it is life threatening or does prevent you from getting the necessary certifications, then you do have to spend that money on the car and have less money to spend on lower priorities. So it seems Williams found their car has the equivalent of an ugly but not life or road legal threatening dent, e.g. above one of the front wheels, and decided that since the car was going to be written off at the end of this year anyway, then live with the pain until then. That will give you more money to spend on your next car, which will hopefully be a better investment than this one.

  15. Is there any more successful pay driver in the history of Formula One besides Lauda?

    1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      17th November 2018, 0:34

      Maldonaldo was good on his day.

  16. FW41: Williams have made no progress with “terrible” Stroll

  17. Damn, I know that bashing is way to easy, but:

    The couple of races I scored points were good. But I really had to work for it.

    Yeah, “work for it”, that’s what everyone else does! :D

    1. @nugolo: Work for it? What’s the point of that if your Dad can by an F1 team for you play around in.

      It’s unfortunate that Stroll Sr. purchased the wrong team. Next season wouldn’t be surprised that Lance will lash out that Daddy bought an inferior team – should have bought RBR. Horner vigorously defending Stroll’s ‘work’ would almost be worth the paywall price.

  18. The problem for Williams and most teams with the current regulations is that they know where their team will finish after pre season testing.

    Couple that with the major aero changes forced on them for 2019 (which won’t be cheap) and they probably have made a wise budget decision to write off 2018 development.

    Maybe Liberty/FIA need to look at the in season testing rules and allow teams that are x seconds off the pace to be allowed to run in season testing to get their cars to a more competitive state. Then we might actually see some performance gaps close, whereas at the moment, a team that gets it wrong at the start has no chance of reversing that.

    Even Red Bull with its huge budget took a large part of a season to recover in 2017 (and imagine a big chunk of funds), a smaller less funded team has no chance and the reality is that all the simulation tools in the world don’t really make up for actual track time.

    1. @dbradock This is, by far, the most sensible comment I have read on this subject. COTD.

    2. Pedro Andrade
      18th November 2018, 7:26

      Not really accurate, and this year has several examples. Sauber started the season as worse than Williams and now are the 4th/5th best team. Force India also started badly but recovered. Renault started strongly and now the car is off the pace. McLaren also dropped.

  19. The Stroll bashing goes on and yet again, we have a bunch of armchair experts throwing around heavy phrases about mediocre drivers, craftsmen, tools, etc.

    1. @neutronstar
      I doesn’t take an arm chair expert to figure out a driver that is so apparently rubbish. Maybe you’re new to F1 and haven’t figured out a way to judge a driver’s skill, potential and attitude yet.

      1. @todfod I’m not new to F1, but yeah my comment doesn’t hold much weight anyway. We all are armchair experts.

      2. @todfod Also, maybe you’re right about me not having figured out a way to judge a driver’s potential. I’ve been a big Hulkenberg fan for six years and there haven’t been many moments so far in his career suggesting he is ever going to achieve great things, rather he has squandered half of his podium opportunities right in front of my eyes and it has been quite painful, but I won’t stop supporting him now…I’ve invested too much in him emotionally. He’s my number one favorite driver as long as he keeps working hard. :)))

        1. Some Dude On The Interwebs
          17th November 2018, 20:18

          Uh, dude, Hulk won 2018 Formula 1.5 WDC.

    2. @neutronstar I take my previous comment back. One needs craft to be a craftsman.

      1. @ferrox-glideh I got a little emotionally carried away with my comment…and decided to ride my high-horse for a few moments. I understand the criticism towards Stroll, but I personally like him so it bothers me a little.

      2. @ferrox-glideh But then I’ve criticised him myself in my comment below, so yeah…It’s just that I still believe that he can do well. Might be a fool’s dream but that’s just how it is.

        1. Hi Aaditya – I enjoyed reading your ‘up & down’ comments… Wondering if you’re in need of a holiday… ;-)

  20. I’m pretty sure the way Williams feel about Stroll’s performances are mutual. In fact, if you just replace some of the words from Lance’s quotes and observe them from William’s perspective, it actually makes more sense –

    “Generally the car hasn’t been there, it’s been terrible to drive. The performance just has been awful. That’s been frustrating but that’s how it is. I’ve digested it.”

    Generally Lance hasn’t been there, he’s been a terrible driver. His performance just has been awful. That’s been frustrating but that’s how it is. We’ve digested it.

    “It’s been a very challenging year with the car. It just hasn’t been performing at all. So I’m ready to turn the page and move on.”

    It’s been a very challenging year with Lance. He hasn’t been performing at all. So we’re ready to turn the page and move on.

    “Overall I expected much more from us as a team this year and from the car, we haven’t developed the car at all. We have the same car that we had in Australia which is a bit of a shame.”

    Overall we expected much more from Lance as a driver this year and from his dad, he hasn’t developed at all. He’s the same driver that we had in Australia’17 which is a bit of a shame.

  21. Anyway, Lance is just showing his age with these statements…not every 20 year old will be mature enough to realize that some things are better left unsaid. Surely, no driver can feel affection towards a car like FW41 but still, it’s better to be more reserved in public and whenever possible, show appreciation towards what your team has done for you, if you want to leave a positive impression on the rest of the paddock.

    Lance might not have said all this had he been staying at Williams for next year, but at the moment he seems a little short in the “appreciation” department. I remember him saying that he didn’t learn anything from Massa in 2017, probably trying to paint himself as the lone, independent hero of his few achievements (having been continuously criticised for depending on his father for get him a drive in Formula 1). I can understand that the last thing he needed was yet another “father figure” in the viewers’ eyes, but in my opinion, it’s always more beneficial to acknowledge help you’ve received from other people. It doesn’t make you the lesser man and there’s nothing wrong with it. On the other hand, Massa was hurt with Stroll’s comments and that did nothing to improve the latter’s reputation.

    Stroll can certainly take a leaf out of Leclerc’s book. In Mexico, Charles openly admitted that Ericsson’s “sacrifice” in the race was of help to him and helped him finish P7, and two weeks later in Brazil, he praised Ericsson’s lap in Q3, saying something along the lines of; “I couldn’t match that lap”. I’m not sure how honest his statements about Ericsson were(I personally don’t think either is completely true), but the important point is that he is showcasing his grounded nature, painting himself in a positive light in the paddock. It’s true that Charles has the advantage over Stroll that everyone (including himself) “knows” he is much better than Ericsson and he is mentally free from the shackles of the inferiority complex Stroll could be facing in acknowledging help, appreciation works well regardless of whether you are better or worse.

    1. Brutal.

    2. “… not every 20 year old will be mature enough to realize that some things are better left unsaid.”
      I’m not convinced by this claim of immaturity, which defence has also been applied to VER and many others…
      When I was 18-22 I, and the vast majority of my peers, didn’t make such comments – in private or public. There is more to it… Maybe ‘times have changed’… You only have to see the sort of uninhibited drivel that appears across the internet to realise this… But perhaps this is a confirmation of immaturity… Internet trolls are usually accused of being keyboard warriors who would not speak this way to someone’s face… Maybe we’re moving into the next stage of the New Maturity process… Does anyone else remember the arrival of the ‘Age of New Morality’…? – put simply it stated: ‘If you’re not found out, you didn’t do it’… I think it was levelled first at Colin Chapman, but he was not alone.

      1. @blackjackfan 😂😂
        Well, different people grow up at different times in their lives. When Lance arrived in Formula 1, surrounded by negativity and with the axe of judgement hanging over his head, he was surprisingly positive and made comments reflecting maturity beyond his years, much like Leclerc. I remember watching the drivers’ press conference in Canada and being impressed by his attitude. He was prepared for the criticism he was going to face in his first year and he managed to turn things around with respect to his performances to some extent.

        This year has been a proper shock for him, though, and it’s definitely something he wasn’t prepared for. All the impatient and frustrated comments he has made are from this season. He has some way to go and a lot of things to learn, but I can understand his behaviour.

        Speaking honestly, personally, when facing unexpected adversity, even though I know what the right thing to do is, I end up acting impatient and do the wrong thing anyway. It’s not that easy for everyone ;)

  22. Next year Russel and Kubica will improve the car, just watch. Kubicas dad basically said today in a Polish interview that he is expecting kubica to race next year, they are just waiting on contract negotiations with polish petroleum Orlen, and also for after last race where stroll will formally move to FI. Good riddence Stroll and Sirotkin.

  23. On the subject of Williams, I am massively disappointed to lose Alonso to F1.
    I had hoped he would sign with Williams to stay in F1. I understand that he is very expensive however he is so wealthy maybe he would have taken a paycut….

    1. @dutchtreat :O) That’s a sweet thought, Dutchy, but I don’t think Alonso wants to try yet again with a backmarker team.

    2. Alonso wants to win, he is not interested in more years like at McLaren, he wants the triple crown. id rather see Alonso be happy and racing in another series then just running through the motions in f1.

  24. joe pineapples
    17th November 2018, 18:56

    Would love to see Williams find their feet again next season and on occasion have their drivers overtake the Force India of brat face :)

  25. Lance needs to find a Rich Energy ‘dealer’ on the Haas crew.
    “a crisp clean taste and high performance…a brilliantly made elite drink for the discerning customer”
    Could give him the edge.

Comments are closed.