Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe believes having a rookie driver in Lance Stroll last season meant the team didn’t always exploit the car’s full potential.
Lowe recently highlighted how he felt Force India did not have a significantly quicker car than Williams, but maximized its own results in order to finish over 100 points ahead in the constructors’ championship. Speaking ahead of confirmation that Sergey Sirotkin would partner Stroll in 2018, Lowe admitted the time a rookie needs to settle into Formula 1 means certain opportunities were missed at the start of last year.
“Some of [the missed results] is down to error here and there, operational issues, some of which was reliability which was not as good as we’d like,” Lowe told RACER. “Some of it is the driver not being able to exploit the car that is available.
“That’s pretty obvious in Lance’s case that that would have been the case for the first half of the season. He was getting up to speed in his first year of Formula 1, so that was all part of the process with him, and inevitably meant we weren’t scoring quite what we should and could have done.
“But in amongst that there were some terrific examples of Lance’s talent like Baku with his first podium, and Monza with his front row qualifying in the wet. In fact, that Baku podium result is the only non-top three podium of last year. So that was one example of displacing that lockout.”
Lowe insists he isn’t daunted by the performance advantage enjoyed by the top three teams, believing Williams can bridge the gap with incremental improvements.
“As it has always been in this sport you’ve got to do the best you can with what you’ve got. We don’t have the resources of those teams at the front but we can always do more with what we have and then take it from there. Success breeds more success because it brings rewards and that’s the way forward.
“So it’s not a short game, but I don’t want to call it a long game either. We have to take it step-by-step, we have to make a better car this year and then see where that takes us. That’s the challenge and I don’t think that’s any different to how it has always been in Formula 1. That’s why you have seen teams come and go around the front when they get that right or they get it wrong.”