Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe says his team has “been left behind” from an engineering standpoint and needs time to improve away from the track.
Lowe targeted a step change in performance with the 2018 car after finishing a distant fifth in the constructors’ championship last season, but so far it has scored just four points and sits bottom of the standings.
When it was put to him that the upcoming races in Austria and Silverstone will be tough due to the aerodynamic weaknesses of the car, Lowe replied: “No, it is not going to be great.
“We’ve got problems to solve and it is all about engineering, so we’ve got to go away and do the right work. We’ve been left behind and not done things that we should have done. We’ve got some fantastic competition as Formula 1 as a sport is working at a really high level these days amongst all the teams, so we’ve simply not done a good enough job. We need to be quicker than we are.”
Part of that work has included a restructuring of the team, with chief designer Ed Wood and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer both leaving last month. But Lowe insists those departures are not a distraction.
“There is some work around [restructuring] but our main focus is on the work that needs to be done and everyone is playing their part. There is some great teamwork going on in all different areas, so we are not distracted by changes in organization. We are making some changes in a number of areas, we may as well make them and [let] people get on with it.”
With F1 in the middle of a run of five races in six weeks, Lowe admitted that it is difficult to keep an eye on the bigger picture of progress when there are so many individual races to focus on in a short space of time.
“We’ve never had this dense a period of races in history, have we?” he said. “Not sure any of us will get through it that easily but it is particularly difficult with a slow car. We are doing some developments in the middle of that, so I hope we can make some progress before the break.
“There is a lot of work going on, but that’s the frustration as it makes it very difficult from the frontline. There is a lot of great work going on back at base, but we are not seeing the fruits of it yet.”