Team took wrong development direction – Williams

Williams took the wrong development direction with its car over the past two seasons, according to deputy team principal Claire Williams.

New power unit regulations saw Williams finish third in the constructors’ championship in 2014, with an efficient aerodynamic package helping it get good performance out of the Mercedes power unit. While it remained third in 2015, Williams slipped back as the last season progressed, with Force India beating it to fourth place in the constructors’ standings.

Williams believes the problem stems from the development direction chosen by the team, insisting the original car was strong enough to be improved further over the past three seasons.

“In 2013 it was an overcomplicated car and we wanted to remove that complication,” Williams said. “I think what has come about after the 2014 season, in 2015 and 2016 we’ve almost gone in the wrong direction with our development work and the upgrades we brought during the season.

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“So I think the actual base concept of the car was really strong, but I think where we’ve taken it in terms of development direction, coupled with the fact that we’ve got stable regulations and there’s little room to manoeuvre within those regulations I think that’s compounded the issue.”

And Williams believes the budget was in place to enjoy a much more competitive 2016 if the team had got the development direction right.
“We can’t then compensate by throwing a load of money and resource because we don’t have it to turn to a different direction. We don’t have that capability, but I don’t think our result [in 2016] has been a result of our budget. I wouldn’t want to call it constraints of our team because I think we have a healthy budget, the finances of the business – you saw our annual results this year – were strong. We have just not made the right decisions.”

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