Robert Kubica, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Late tweaks to technical rules contributed to Williams’ car delay

2019 F1 season

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Late clarifications to the technical rules for the 2019 F1 season contributed to Williams’ delay in completing its car for the new season.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams told media including RaceFans the late appearance of some technical directives was particularly challenging for one of F1’s smaller teams like Williams.

“There were some technical directives that did come out relatively late which doesn’t help,” she said. “It doesn’t help a particular team like ours when we don’t have the additional budget and therefore resource to throw at something if it comes in late.

“We’ve got a very tight plan with very stringently controlled budgets to effect that plan. And if something is thrown in at the last minute you’ve then got to find additional resources to either do a U-turn or whatever you have to do in order to facilitate that change.

“There were a few incidents like that. You can’t predict that but you should certainly plan for it and build in contingency. So again something that we need to make sure we that we take into consideration for next year.”

Robert Kubica, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Williams were late to start testing
The Williams FW42 ran for the first time on day three of testing last week, five days after its intended debut in a filming session. Williams also addressed some speculation about other factors which could have delayed its completion.

“There were many stories around what potentially could have been the cause of it,” said Williams. “A couple that I read was that there were issues with external suppliers. That wasn’t the case. Or that financially we were in a difficult position and that had an impact on the car build – it didn’t.

“I think we take for granted sometimes that we’re just going to get one car to the test track and two cars to a race track. But Williams still designs and builds our race cars in-house in their entirety. There are 22-odd thousand parts to a car which we have to design which we have to manufacture, which we have to assemble, which we have to put through crash testing etc… and that’s an enormous job and we just didn’t make it for a number of reasons.

I think we’ve seen historically that it can happen. And we need to just make absolutely sure that the situation doesn’t happen again. It’s clearly not what we wanted to happen.

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“It’s compromised our test program to a degree. We’re obviously trying to make up for the time that we’ve lost and I hope that when we get to Australia or probably a bit further down the line we will have forgotten about it and move forward and when we go to Barcelona next year we’ll have a car to run from nine o’clock on the first morning.”

Williams explained how the team is working to make up for lost time since it got the FW42 on-track.

“We’ll minimise the amount of time that we’ll lose. Fortunately the car is – touch wood – proving reliable currently which means that we can recover a lot of the program that we potentially would have lost.

[smr0901]”The car covered with George [Russell] yesterday 119 laps. Robert [Kubica’s] already got a number under his belt today and the targets should match George’s from yesterday. And then the target is even higher tomorrow.

“So we’re trying to make up the running time. But having that baseline of kilometres is going to mean that that the program will be as least-compromised as it can be.”

The team will not be able to fully analyse the reasons why its car was not completed on time until after testing is over, Williams added.

“We’re making sure that the efforts are focused currently on making sure that we get the program covered that we need to here. A lot of people that would be involved in any after-action review are clearly busy concentrating on the program here.

“There is some work that’s being started but it will probably take us a few week to fully compile that. We have to get it right because if we don’t get the review right then we’re not going to get next year’s programme right. So we’ve got to take our time and make sure we cover every base off and make sure that we get it right for next year.”

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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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  • 33 comments on “Late tweaks to technical rules contributed to Williams’ car delay”

    1. Which rules were changed at the last minute/hour? Claire – daddy’s girl – does not tell us which are these rules that hampered only Williams and no other team. The rules were known at least a year in advance so she is doing her usual lying/bs-ing again I think. Still no reason as to why they were the only team without a car ready at the start of practicing.

      1. Do you refer to other (deputy) team principals also as ‘mommy’s boy’?

        PS some technical directive(s) was issued just a few months ago. But other teams with smaller budgets got their car ready and (as she said herself) had they done some better contingency planning then this would probably not have happened.

        1. the only reason I refer to Claire Williams as daddy’s girl is that she has this role/job in the team because her dad owns the company. No other principal or deputy principal has their job due to kinship so I reserve this role just for Claire. Hope one day she is able to get a proper job as a result of her skills and not name/family. I am sure it will do her good.

          1. @Chris I implore you to listen to the interview with Claire Williams on the ‘Beyond the Grid’ podcast. She’s had to work hard for her position, and is absolutely there on merit.

            She has risen through the ranks over time – but because she started much younger than most people, she’s risen higher at a younger relative age.

      2. It sounded as a straight forward reason. There were several clarifications to the rules, but as she said, they should have anticipated.
        BTW, she takes the heat “like a man”. Paddy, responsible for the build proces is nowhere in sight.

      3. The world is trying to move forwards, Chris. Misogynistic comments will only severely weaken whatever points you were trying to get across. Plus, you offend many readers here.

    2. BS & excuses! look at all the crap Force India/RP went through last year and they still turned up. Williams knew their 2018 was a dud so they would have switched their focus earlier than other teams and they still screwed it up. They FU plain and simple.

      1. Probably because Racing Point, in all its guises, has tended to build that contingency in where possible. Though even it’s missed testing days in the last few years (I think it was 2015 where it managed to miss an entire week).

    3. Can we not give Williams a break? Seems a lot of people want to kick them when they are down. It seems half the comments on racefans complain about the uneven distribution of revenue, then the other half complaining that Williams/Force India/etc car is not as quick/reliable/ready on time as Mercedes/Ferrari. Unsurprising given the difference in budgets.

      I hope the car proves reliable and quicker than last year, if that is the case no one will care when it arrived.

      1. Nothing to to do with Wiliams as a team. I am long time fan. It’s the ridiculous statements & excuses Claire Williams just made on record.

        1. And when you read the quotes again @ming-mong, you’ll see that it is actually not even an excuse.

          She clearly states: later directives “did not help”; contingency planning should be planned for; and, a full review will still be done.
          Sounds like a fair set of comments to me for somebody who is taking responsibility.

          1. The thing that I think gets to me is that she said they weren’t going to talk publicly about this. Fine – probably a very good decision. Then as soon as there is a way of deflecting blame on her team, she’s happy to talk about it.

            All it does is start the conversation up again which she’ll then reply to with “I don’t want to talk about it.”

        2. Coanda? I thought you were banned several years ago. ;)

          Seriously, though, much of it is people trying to prove how cool they are by anonymously bashing someone. There’s a lot of hatred, some of it based on Claire Williams’ lack of a Y chromosome, some just based on “it’s fun to hate”.

          Ultimately, our opinions don’t matter. It’s up to the team, and their sponsors, to sort things out, and this year’s car, while late, and hastily built, has been reasonably reliable. Russell needs to get up to Kubica’s speed quickly, but the car has so far been better than expected.

          I’d much rather have a team principal say “we screwed up, we’ve identified where we screwed up, and we’re working to fix it”, instead of making excuses.

          1. Never banned. I don’t know where you got that one from…

            1. “There were some technical directives that did come out relatively late which doesn’t help,” she said. “It doesn’t help a particular team like ours when we don’t have the additional budget and therefore resource to throw at something if it comes in late.”

              Reads like excuses to me. RP turned up and look at their budget & problems they had last year.

            2. “Ultimately, our opinions don’t matter”. Then you give an opinion.. Good one pal ;)

          2. Go one with coanda joke! I must be tired that slipped through to the keeper ;)

      2. @cookie71, Williams want to give themselves a break and probably all their fans too. Yet they seem increasingly unable.

    4. Williams is on record saying their primary sponsor was signed January 2019. So that makes me wonder if there was indeed any issues with cashflow that contributed to the lateness of the car’s build.

      1. Not having the budget etc. but later “no financial problems”, corporate doublespeak that supports your supposition. @stuckin5thgear

    5. Out comes the mob with its rotten vegetables. But when you look at how close the FW42 sails to the wind in regard to some of the rules (the front wing flap adjuster cowls are a notable example), this explanation actually rings pretty true. Note that the team said “clarifications”, not “changes”, referring to late Technical Directives, not the 2019 rules themselves as announced last year. It’s not hard to imagine they had some parts ready to go on the car which they discovered had crossed the line at the last minute once the TDs came out.

      1. I like this perspective. Trying to get back to the front requires a team to push the limits of the laws. Having to dial something small back could’ve had a butterfly effect somewhere else on the car.

    6. Jonathan Teague
      27th February 2019, 18:09

      I remember when Ferrari didn’t even race their new cars until several races into that years championship and no one seemed to bothered about it (and they still won!). All will be revealed in Melbourne.

      1. Jonathan Teague, mind you, in those cases Ferrari’s decision to carry those cars into the start of the following season was an intentional choice.

        When Ferrari did that in 2002 and 2003, the cars that they carried over were both very successful designs that still won races the following year. Ferrari could afford to keep on developing and racing those cars whilst their successors were being developed – the regulations on private testing were much laxer in those days, so when they did introduce the new cars partway through the season, they’d already gone through a significant amount of testing beforehand.

    7. Missing 2.5 days of testing and one photoshoot day is not the end of the world. I’m still somewhat disturbed how this storm in a teacup is still generating headlines. The car is couple of days late and now seems to be running just fine and people are asking for people to be fired on the spot? Some of you have lost all proportion. 2.5 days lost. Come on…

      1. Didn’t someone miss the entire first test a few years back?

        I do agree with you. Storm in a teacup. Let them get on with it and we’ll see how bad things really are in Melbourne.

    8. Translation – Paddy wasn’t paying attention.

    9. “Late clarifications to the technical rules for the 2019 F1 season contributed to Williams’ delay”
      I can imagine that any team of racers, will be pushing the limits of the rules. You have to and it is expected.
      The way the rules seem to get applied these days, a team pens a design than applies for clarifications so they can race it without fear of betting stung. Either that or you formulate a technical question around what the other teams may be doing so you can see how far you can push things.
      In the case of smaller teams (read as limited budgets) there isn’t the luxury of being able to build without a clear indication it is going to be acceptable.
      The fact that Williams are pushing up to the limit of the rules and the timing for testing …. this is a good thing.
      All the teams have been on-track for less than two weeks. Give them a chance. Last year at this time, McLaren had blown several IC engines and Williams know that their car was “evil”. Ferrari and Mercedes were getting set to go and have their own series.
      So far this year, things are looking up…… way up.
      Engines have been almost totally reliable, a Ferrari has crashed for an unknown reason, Mercedes is showing some signs of not being totally on top of their game, Red Bull is still in the Honeymoon Phase with their engine supplier and all the other teams, including Williams, are busy getting on with it. It is going to be an interesting first few races. After that, I bet it will get downright exciting. Bring it on.

    10. There are 22-odd thousand parts to a car which we have to design which we have to manufacture, which we have to assemble, which we have to put through crash testing etc… and that’s an enormous job and we just didn’t make it for a number of reasons.

      So… the Merc Power Unit is one part and Williams designed, manufactured and assembled 21,999 other parts on their own. Impressive.

      Although… McLaren states there’s just 16,000 components needed to assemble their car. Maybe Williams were over-assembling a little and it took longer.

      1. @jimmy-cynic or maybe the McLaren had a box of left over parts they missed 😂

        But yeah, part reduction should be key. Less parts, less things to go wrong (and design and build and assemble).

        1. @jimmi-cynic where’s that edit button?

          1. @justrhysism: Removed. One less part to go wroooong… ;-)

    11. There were some technical directives that did come out relatively late which doesn’t help… It doesn’t help a particular team like ours when we don’t have the additional budget and therefore resource to throw at something if it comes in late.

      I suspect a similar problem will arise with the yet to be announced rule changes in 2021.

    Comments are closed.