George Russell, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Williams has extensive car development plan for “critical” 2020 season

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says the teams intends to pursue joint development plans for 2020 and 2021 despite the team’s limited resources.

What they say

[smr2020test]Williams was asked how the team will prioritise development in the 2020 F1 season with a major change in the rules coming next year:

Obviously we started the process when the first draft of the [2021] technical regulations came out in October last year, we started understanding them and understanding the resource that we would need in order to project manage that throughout the course of this year, while also obviously making sure that we developed the FW43.

We have to keep developing the FW43 throughout the course of this year, because this is a critical year for our team. We have to get it right. We have to perform on the race track at each and every race.

So we have a very comprehensive plan of upgrades that will be delivered over the course of this season, while all the while in the background making sure that we’re on the front foot for development for the FW44, for the 2021 chassis.

It’s not easy. There are teams higher up the grid that have new budget capacity to be able to put a lot more resource into that. But we know the budget and the resource capacity that we have. And we’ve just got to make sure that we can do the best job that we can with that running two programs in parallel.

It’s not ideal. I wish that we’d thought about this in advance at Strategy Group and put the cost cap in place for this year so that it will be greater convergence in ’21 rather than having to wait for it for a few years. But that’s the way it is.

At Williams, we’ve always just got on with it, rolled up our sleeves and we will do the best job that we can. But it’s not going to be easy running the two. There are a whole new set of technical regulations that we’ve got to get our head round and maximise because 2021 has got to be a year that we capitalise on with all the changes that are coming. And it’s got to be a year that we get it right at Williams.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Never mind Ferrari – what did yesterday’s statement from the FIA say about F1’s governing body?

This is laughable. We decided to stop investigating because the engines are so complex that we don’t fully understand them and so we are unable to figure out what Ferrari are doing. The FIA have just admitted that they are governing a sport that they don’t have the ability to police.

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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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  • 38 comments on “Williams has extensive car development plan for “critical” 2020 season”

    1. I don’t understand how the FIA has made such a cluster of this situation. I don’t see Ferrari’s wrong doing any worse than anyones elses in the past 10 years, be it RBR, Mercedes, Renault or anyone else that have tried to push boundaries. If they don’t have evidence of cheating then they can’t prove it. If they have evidence then make the claim, penalise them and move on. Even if it just one race like they penalised Renault or Haas, there’s a penalty and the masses are calmed. To say that we think they did but we can’t prove it makes them look incompetent (that said the PU’s are hugely complex and the amount of code that it takes to run them must be absolutely immense), and only makes the mystery so much more intriguing for everyone else. The fact that Ferrari have agreed to a settlement is the weirdest thing, why? If they can’t be proven illegal keep going, if they can stop it. I find it very hard to believe that the FIA said ‘oh we think you’re cheating but we can’t prove it’ and Ferrari just sheepishly smiled ‘oh you’re right, you totally got us we’ve been a little bit naughty’

      I think it’s time for the FIA to clean house.

      1. The FIA called their bluff but in such a way as to make both parties look bad. It’s evidence of a shift in where the power lies in the sport, coupled with some ham-fisted incompetence by the FIA (how they worded the statement). Their headache is what to do next. Ferrari’s headache is simply how to recupe that lost performance because the secret of how they achieved it (or how they cheated) will remain untold, unless the FIA want to go nuclear and issue a penalty, in which case Ferrari might start threatening to quit the sport in earnest.

      2. Fia’s 1st statement was a total disaster. Had they started by saying that they had given up. A year of trying to find whatever Mercedes thinks ferrari is doing. I think people would be understanding. Everyone runs illegal as much as they can and for as long as possible. For instances the official driver weights are a joke, way too heavy to be true. Wings flex, engine mappings function like traction control. 3 teams are working with b teams. Cars drive off line to raise the ride height. And there is a lot more. As long as the car is always legal when the fia is looking at it fine, in between all bets are off.

        1. @peartree all good points, but it begs the question: why did the FIA do it? are they trying to establish a new, less cosy relationship with ferrari, one that affords ferrari less bargaining power than they have become used to OR was it just run of the mill incompetence with nobody thinking through the consequences? i’m willing to bet it was a bit of the former, with a heavy dose of the latter.

          the whole situation is made yet more confusing by the fact Todt (ex-Ferrari principal) is in charge of the FIA (we assume). this leads me further towards the conclusion that the FIA are just incompetent. whoever drafted that statement should probably have taken the day off that day.

          1. @frood19 this whole things sounds off. In the end I wonder why would anyone risk looking this bad for nothing in return. The fia stands to gain nothing.

    2. Hemingway (@)
      6th March 2020, 0:46

      In an off topic dream world, I’m looking forward to car to car radio for team mates

    3. So many people are way wrong on this… so many people are 100% confident that they are right… when basic logical thinking would get you guys to the answer. I don’t know if it’s because they’re Ferrari fans, or???

      “The fact that Ferrari have agreed to a settlement is the weirdest thing, why? “

      Um, maybe because they’re afraid the Fia might actually find something? Its OBVIOUS they cheated, and “barely got away with it”. Then people compare it to DAS, or redbulls flexing wings…. THIS IS NOTHING LIKE THOSE!

      Anyone who says “yeah Ferrari cheated, but it’s ok because DAS!” Should be removed from the site for not being able to use critical thinking…. but hey! The upside is they’ve stopped comparing coronavirus to the common flu!

      1. Take your first sentence, apply it to yourself.

      2. And please feel free to enlighten us of your critical thinking steps that got you to your outcomes.

        That Ferrari have obviously cheated.
        That Ferrari’s alleged cheating is nothing like any other teams confirmed cheating.

        1. Paul Duggan
          6th March 2020, 7:16

          He spelled it out. Ferrari would not have agreed to something that they don’t really want to do unless there’s was the threat of something worse if they didn’t. Oh, and they suddenly got slower when the FIA said “Yes, anyone doing these things is absolutely cheating”. A run of six straight poles came to an end on that day.

          1. That’s not evidence.

          2. There are multiple motives available for Ferrari to have come to the settlement.

        2. You summed it up pretty nicely. There’s so many people feeling they exactly know what’s going on even though they have no clue, their subjective preference being the decisive factor.

        3. Don’t be ignorant.

          If Ferrari hadn’t cheated the FIA would be proud to say that they investigated the issue and found Ferrari not guilty of breaching any rules. The fact that they reached a secret agreement, or settlement, it proof enough that Ferrari was doing something dodgy.

          It’s not innovation like Red Bull’s Flexi wings, or the DAS system, it is cheating … tricking the sensors from detecting a breach of rules is a cheat.

          As an F1 fan, you should understand the difference between pushing the boundaries and sneaking past the boundaries undetected.

          1. I understand that if we don’t know the complexity of the system or even how it basically works then there is no evidence of a breach.

            1. No, there is evidence– it’s just circumstantial. GPS traces show the Ferrari’s acceleration, and the weight of the car + driver is a known value. It’s easy to calculate how much energy is required to accelerate the car at that rate. The FIA has detailed samples of the fuel (by regulation) that the Ferrari is running.

              Mercedes has been running near 50% fuel efficiency for some time, and is pretty sure that’s the limit for an ICE. If Ferrari’s suddenly getting 60% efficiency on the straights, then something is up– and the FIA *can* precisely measure how much energy is coming from the MGU-K, so they know it’s not coming from there.

              So where’s the extra energy coming from? The rules say no more than 100kg/hr fuel flow, which should, theoretically, correspond to how much fuel is being *burned* in the same interval (which is why the teams don’t bother revving over 10,500 RPM– you get no more HP). Since the FIA didn’t seize an engine that was over-performing before Ferrari was able to restore it to “customer” mode, the FIA doesn’t know.

            2. Circumstantial evidence in this case is tantamount to nothing. The ‘extra’ energy could be coming from the 50% that isn’t being used by the Mercedes system… Your entire theory is based upon Mercedes being the grandmaster of designing PU systems, that they alone are the gold standard that no one could possibly be better than.

          2. Anything dodgy like bending wings that bends the rules is also cheating if we say Ferrari cheated.
            The rules says they must have a certain amount of fuel flow through the meter at a certain time. If they complied with that requirement, technically they didn’t cheat, just bent the rules like the famous flexi wings.

            1. I feel like there’s a philosophical difference between the two, but perhaps there isn’t. the toyota turbo thing (i’ve mentioned it previously – here is the story: is the closest example I can think of to what ferrari are alleged to have done.

              one thing to consider is that the fuel flow rule is not worded like that. it says that fuel flow must be no more than 100kg/hour, period. it doesn’t say that fuel flow through the meter must be no more than 100kg/h. the meter is simply how it’s measured, it’s not a part of the rule itself. if it were, the teams would just be encouraged to find a why to bypass the meter (although to be fair, that’s basically what ferrari have done!)

              in F1 terms it is a bit like the ride height rules that were brought in during the ground effect era in the early 80s – the Brabham team (and others) just introduced adjustable ride height controls so the car was legal in the pits, but as soon as it went on track, the driver just pulled a lever and the ride height went down – illegal but unprovable. perhaps this is just another flexi-wing.

          3. @todfod If Ferrari had breached the regulations, the FIA would have been obliged to penalise them openly. It doesn’t get to let them off just because it might prefer to do so (and technically a governing body should not harbour a preference one way or the other – its only bias should be in favour of truth).

            The statement that the FIA could not prove any regulation had been broken means that under 2020 regulations (and 2019 ones, for that matter) Ferrari was in compliance. (This would not automatically be so under 2021 regulations).

            1. If Ferrari had breached the regulations, the FIA would have been obliged to penalise them openly.


              I don’t think the FIA would penalise Ferrari openly even if they ran two engines in a race car with rocket fuel.

            2. @todfod The FIA has penalised Ferrari on a number of previous occasions for offences. I’m not suggesting it enjoys it, but even in the latter Mosley era (when there were many allegations of favouritism, with stronger foundation than currently), the FIA penalised Ferrari when it broke the regulations. Most of the time.

        4. Ross, there are those who want to try and bring DAS into it as a way of trying to muddy the waters, but that isn’t really a direct comparison. Mercedes have not hidden that system from the FIA – on the contrary, they’ve actively engaged the FIA at an early stage.

          We know from information released by the FIA that Mercedes has already consulted with them about the legality of DAS, bringing documentation with them to support their argument – it’s only with the confirmation that the FIA believed the device was legal that Mercedes then went on to develop that device.

          1. I understand what you’re saying and agree. I have no issue with DAS as far as I’m concerned it’s purely innovation in line with the guild lines. Engineering excellence, especially if it brings home a WCC.

            The crux of my comment (Before people just assumed that I’m a tifosi) was the failure of the FIA to handle the situation in a reasonable manner. If it turns out they were acting illegally then penalise them, if they weren’t then clear them and move on, but this settlement only brings both bodies into disrepute. As they do with any team that is found to be cheating, provide a technical directive that closes the loophole and move on. I would much rather the FIA take a hardline approach to these sort of situations, but given the lack of evidence against Ferrari I don’t see how they can in this instance.

    4. GtisBetter (@)
      6th March 2020, 6:20

      “Every team knows that they will never retain any fraudulent activity because someone will leave next week or the week after and they’ll take that information with them.

      The teams have, in a very crude sense, this internal policing going on because they know that this engineer will move to another team next season and you won’t be able to retain that information.

      So there’s self-policing, there’s a whistle-blowing system, and there’s a strong group of auditors. We’ve partnered with Deloitte, who have been very involved with a number of these sport initiatives, and we will meet some challenges for sure in the next few years.

      I’m not sure if this is a PR answer or if Brown really believes it, but it makes him sound like he has no clue.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        6th March 2020, 6:21

        That must be Brawn of course.

      2. @passingisoverrated There’s an anonymous whistleblower rule, that rewards people bringing information that leads to another team being caught cheating a technical system (with up to €1 million). Teams really don’t want to be caught up in it, especially since that immediately links them with the Singapore 2008 crash scandal (which was eventually charged and penalised using that mechanism). So that’s a pretty nice financial incentive for exactly what Ross Brawn discusses.

    5. Quote from Ross Brawn regarding the policing of the budget cap from 2021

      We’ve partnered with Deloitte, who have been very involved with a number of these sport initiatives

      Deloitte was one of the four auditing firms that stoked up the world financial crisis by signing off ridiculously optimistic valuations of bank assets prior to 2008.
      I hope they have improved their procedures and raised their level of integrity since.

      1. @johnrkh you could have also mentioned Deloitte’s involvement in the Serco Geografix scandal in 2011 and 2012, where they admitted misconduct in allowing Serco Geografix to overcharge the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service, or the HP-Autonomy deal at the same time, where they have been accused of “recklessness” by the regulatory body.

        There’s also the Carillion case in 2018, where Deloitte is accused of failing to spot that the company was in severe financial trouble and also manipulating their accounts to try and hide the problem, whilst they’re also involved in the ongoing 1MDB investigation in Malaysia.

        As for “improving procedures”, whilst there have apparently been some changes, they did still fail to meet the minimum quality standards for auditing when they were assessed in 2019 – in fact, pretty much the whole of the UK audit industry failed to meet those standards.

        1. @anon With a record like that what could possibly go wrong :))

          1. It’s the perfect partner for the FIA.

      2. @johnrkh Hmmm… …the chances of a false alarm (someone “caught” cheating who wasn’t) or a missed rulebreaker, or indeed someone following advice and then getting punished for it… …suddenly look high.

    6. This is laughable.

      As far as I can tell we have no idea how “painful” the settlement with the FIA was to Ferrari, it might have been “almost painless”. Also, we can’t be certain there was any obligation upon Ferrari to stop doing whatever it was that upset the FIA. It could be Ferrari paid a paltry fine to the FIA, and that they were allowed to continue doing what they had done previously.

      1. @drycrust I highly doubt it.

      2. @drycrust That would surprise me. There would be incentive for the FIA to issue a no fine if it got information to prevent breaches of the rules. In theory, a skint governing body might be tempted to let a team continue cheating in return for substantial funding. However, there is no interest to the FIA for giving a low fine and permission to continue, without also clearing said team.

    7. The FIA statement was ham-fisted and self-contradictory. The line about it being impossible to prove that Ferrari were cheating is at odds with the line about litigation having an uncertain outcome. One makes it sound like there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, and that Ferrari would win if put before a tribunal, whereas the other implies that there’s enough evidence that there’s at least a fair possibility of Ferrari being found guilty of cheating by the IT.

      It’s a statement clearly drafted by the lawyers – unwilling to commit to any position, full of ambiguity, saying lots but meaning little. The one thing that comes out from it is that Ferrari clearly weren’t exonerated by the FIA’s investigation, but really this is a result which will satisfy nobody.

      1. @mazdachris I took it to mean that Ferrari has been found to be doing something that lies somewhere between finding a loophole, and outright cheating. If this is, as we have been told, something that the FIA knows is there, but just can’t prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt, then it is only going to cost months and months and millions and millions of dollars for them to sort out exactly where this thing lies…this thing that FIA cannot prove for an absolute fact exists, but suspects enough that even Ferrari has admitted to having it or using it but they being absolutely convinced via something in the wording of the regs that it is legal.

        So I see a middle ground between your two scenarios of no evidence of wrongdoing and therefore Ferrari winning in court, and enough evidence that there’s a fair possibility of Ferrari being found guilty. I think this lies so in the grey middle that the FIA sees only a long drawn out and expensive procedure with no guarantee of a satisfactory outcome after all the time, energy, and money is spent.

        So they could drag this thing out ad infinitum if indeed Ferrari has half a leg to stand on, but they’ve gotten to the point that pursuing this is not worth the time and money it would take, and rather they have employed two sensors now to stop Ferrari from continuing doing what they were. Well that and the agreement they have signed that they will drop the ‘device’ or whatever, as long as they get to keep commercial rights to it private.

        To me there must be a grey area here that has made this a tricky situation, for after all this kind of settlement that has been reached is quite rare and I really doubt this is just blatant pandering to Ferrari because they are Ferrari. Far far more often than not, things are deemed legal or not and we move on. There must be something unique here going on.

      2. @mazdachris It’s not contradictory if the FIA is accidentally admitting it doesn’t know how judges of courts think…

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