Williams 2021 F1 car rendering

Williams won’t “write off” next year to take advantage of new 2021 rules

2020 F1 season

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The major rules change for the 2021 F1 season won’t tempt the struggling Williams team to shift all its efforts away from next year’s car.

Williams is on course to finish last in the championship for the second season in a row. The current generation of regulations will remain in force next year before being replaced with an extensively overhauled new rules package for 2021.

But Williams will avoid the temptation to throw all its effort in the 2021 campaign too early, according to the team’s senior race engineer Dave Robson.

“Now we’ve got a much better understanding of the regs for 2021 then we need to sit down and time exactly how we go about it,” he said.

Williams has lagged far off the pace with its current car. Robson said the team’s goal for next year is to demonstrate it has understood and corrected where it went wrong.

“Yes we want to make next year’s car quick. But the key bit is understanding why it’s quick. Then actually all the learning we do next year is still applicable, even though the regs change, the physics and the interaction of how the whole car works is still the same.

“So as long as we can understand that and make sure that the tools back at the factory are delivering on-track, and work as is expected, I still think a lot of effort going into next year will still work in 2021.

Dave Robson Williams, 2019
2021 “an opportunity to wipe the slate clean”
“Undoubtedly we’re going to work out how to divide the resources up. But you would never write next year off. We’ve got to prove to ourselves and to everyone else that what we’ve done this year was correct and if it is and we can keep developing that, that will still help the development of the 2021 car. So we’re definitely not writing off next year.”

However Robson admitted the extensive change in the regulations offers a clear chance to the team which is struggling most with the current rules.

“It’s a good opportunity to have a little bit of a reset and then hopefully put into practice what we’ve been learning the last year and what we’ll continue to learn into next year.

“Obviously there’s a few bits of the puzzle left to put together. But I think it’s just a good opportunity to wipe the slate clean and have a good look at everything from a new perspective.”

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2020 F1 season

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22 comments on “Williams won’t “write off” next year to take advantage of new 2021 rules”

  1. They won’t write off 2020 voluntarily, they mean. But it could still happen.

    1. Exactly. This year was an unintentional write-off, even a step backward,

  2. It must be dreadful to be one of the Williams staff who has nothing to do with the car design, showing up every race knowing you’re working as hard and effectively as ever, surrounded by people working as hard as ever, and the net result is that you come in dead last (again) by a country mile (again) with nothing but a meagre hope that next year will be at least marginally less abysmal.

    1. I hope they at least get a bonus for making the fastest pit stops so often for (otherwise) nothing.

    2. I can think of worst jobs

    3. Some of those mechanics could have been there for 10, 20 or even longer. It’s their job, of course as you are in F1 you should always have eager to win and compete but there’s nothing much you can do as an ordinary staff member.

      Wherever you work there’s some bad and some good days. F1 is just more on the frame.

  3. They might still write it off like this year.

    Not intentionally.

  4. They really really should……they are that far behind and a rules overhaul is one of their few chances to turn things around.

  5. If they write off next year, they might struggle to qualify with 107% rule, which would be a complete disaster. Merc and Ferrari are going to push it, so they can’t fall behind too much.

  6. My concern is that their desire to vindicate this years painful performance by ‘proving that what we’ve done this year was correct’ during the 2020 season will take too much away from their ability to develop the 2021 car. They haven’t the financial resources of Mercedes or Ferrari, and they’re going to need to pull the plug on the 2020 car fairly early in the season -like right after testing, I’d think- to make sure they have a well-developed 2021 car.

    Actually, I think they’d be better off to purposely write off 2020 and throw it all toward 2021. If they got it right, they could make a big jump upward through the mid-pack teams. Look what Mercedes did with the new car for the last rule changes. I know, I know, they aren’t Mercedes, but Williams does have some good people. If they do the development of the 2021 car properly, I think they could be best-of-the-rest.

    1. I actually think they are in a position where they cannot even afford to do that “proving” you mentions @dsob.

      I think they are still struggling to find out whether what they think will work well, actually works will in real. So they NEED to work on next years car to validify their models, otherwise they can never be even sure where to take the 2021 car!

  7. I don’t think they can afford to write off next year (at least not intentionally, as noted above). If they can’t figure out how to make THIS design quicker, what chance do they have starting from scratch again for 2021?

  8. Can someone remind me what regs changed to make Williams fall from 3rd to last?

    1. Likely it is not so much what Williams did, but that everyone else developed and got faster far more than them.
      Look at the performance (or lack of) from Haas this season. They start out the year competitive, and then work their way back. Not that they get slower, just all the others getting faster. F1 is a design / development classification.
      I recall a comment a while ago from Adrian Newey that when at Williams, they didn’t do any research.
      For the 2020 car…. Expecting that this is already underway for design and fabrication.
      If you are going to hit the track for testing in February, assembly in January, fabrication of major pieces in December …. you should be signing off on some of the final design details around now.
      In spite of all the troubles Williams has had for the last several years, is there any indication of what the deficiencies were/are with the 2018 and 2019 cars.?? If you can’t nail down what is wrong, how can you fix it.? Sure hope they do, but history is not looking kindly on the team.

    2. Matt, when you look at where Williams have been in the F1 pecking order in general in recent years, it would be more worthwhile asking how they briefly managed to get into 3rd.

      If you look at where Williams were in the period from 2006 to 2013, when they were having to act as an independent team instead of a manufacturer backed team, they spent most of that period near the back of the grid. If you exclude the slightly lucky 4th place in the WCC they had in 2007, their average finishing position in the WCC in that period was 8th place and there were several years where the only teams they could beat were the new team (Marussia, Caterham and HRT).

      In some ways, their decline now is perhaps more of a case of the team reverting to where they were before 2014 and 2015 briefly lifted them into an urepresentatively high position. Their insistence on self reliance and doing as much in house as possible does make them independent from the manufacturers in a way that other teams can’t be, but at the same time it leaves them with a capital intensive production base which they are struggling to maintain.

      1. that’s the point, You hit a nail. that’s why BMW pulled the plug off back in 2005

  9. Williams won’t “write off” next year to take advantage of new 2021 rules

    Bye-bye then. The only thing Williams has left is ego it seems.

  10. Robson said the team’s goal for next year is to demonstrate it has understood and corrected where it went wrong.

    It’s not like their track record is great on that front. I’ve probably heard that same thing from Williams every single year.

  11. It would be a sad day but will they even be around for 2021?

  12. It’d be silly not to. Nobody expects them to be anywhere in 2020…

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