Williams has been struggling to unlock the full potential of the FW41 during pre-season testing in Barcelona and needs more time to gain understanding of the car, admits technical chief Paddy Lowe.
Lowe joined the team from Mercedes at the start of last season, making this year’s car the first he has had a significant influence on. With the design one of the more radical departures from its previous concept, Williams has been lacking in both one-lap pace and high fuel performance, something Lowe says is due to certain aspects of the car being difficult to optimize.
“We’re doing a lot of experiments,” Lowe said. “The limitation in the car at the moment is corner entry instability. That’s quite often the limitation in the car to be honest, but it’s particularly exaggerated at the moment with what we’re running. If we can unlock some progress there, we will find a lot more lap time than we’ve got at the moment because some other aspects of the car are working really, really strongly through other phases of the corner.
“Mostly these things involve a strong aerodynamic element, but the solutions involve everything from suspension to tires and everything else. So it’s always multi-dimensional.”
Lowe says Williams was aware that it may take some time to fully understand its 2018 package, but believes the team has the tools in place to do so.
“I think a large degree of change both in the team that delivered the car and the car itself, that can take a while to develop and optimize,” he said. “I think we can make a lot more progress within the season, and even into next. It’s still early in the potential I think that’s in the team.
“I think the correlation is pretty sound. Actually Williams’ ability to measure aerodynamic performance is one of the strongest I’ve seen. The technology and the people together is very strong. We’ve got a great wind tunnel, it’s well up there with the best. So we’ve got good tools and we make good use of them, but I think there’s potential to do even more.”
At the end of testing, Lance Stroll was bottom of the combined timing screens, only dipping under the 1m20s barrier in the final 15 minutes of the final day. Robert Kubica – who gave up his morning in the car on Friday to allow the race drivers more mileage – was 18th out of 21 cars to register times, and Sergey Sirotkin was two places further up, with a best lap 0.8s quicker than Stroll’s.