Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe insists his team will not give up on its 2018 car in favor of a fresh start next year despite ongoing problems with its performance.
Williams went into this season looking to make a measurable step from 2017, but instead the team has struggled with the FW41, sitting at the bottom of the constructors’s standings with just four points to date. In qualifying at Silverstone, the introduction of a new rear wing created an aerodynamic anomaly that caused the rear of the car to stall after the DRS was closed — leading to a pit lane start as parts were changed — but Lowe says valuable work can still be done with the current car.
“You move more and more of your effort to things that are relevant year in year out,” Lowe said. “Even on the current car you just work more and more on things that are relevant to next year. It doesn’t mean you stop doing anything because you can work on things with the current car that are just as relevant this year as next year.
“I think we’ll just keep doing the best we can with this car — we’ll keep making steps and we’ll migrate those steps to be more and more purely relevant to next year, rather than things that are only relevant to this car.”
There are a number of further updates planned to try and help Williams resolve the aerodynamic weaknesses of this year’s car, and while Lowe was unhappy with the setback at Silverstone he is confident it won’t prevent new parts being introduced.
“It’s a very unwanted delay. We intended this rear wing as part of our wider program together, where we wanted to be. I’m not convinced it’s the rear wing itself, it’s a matter of how it’s functioning together with the floor.”
Adding that further updates are still targeted for the upcoming races in Germany and Hungary, Lowe is confident those will still be introduced alongside the team ensuring it is happy with its correlation between design tools and the track.
“Yes it’s important to go back. Everything we do in designing these cars is heavily dependent on simulation, and simulation itself depends on good correlation — a wind tunnel being itself an example of simulation. If you don’t have correlation of a simulation tool with reality then its output is meaningless, so you do have to dig down and make sure you understand what you’re dealing with.
“Every simulation is full of imperfections. The science of it really is trying to understand which imperfections matter and which don’t.”