Williams’ Mercedes power unit is becoming a source of frustration for the team after it suffered another problem on the opening day of the second Formula 1 test at Barcelona on Wednesday.
An oil system issue caused Nicholas Latifi to stop on track during the morning session and lose a number of hours while the power unit was changed, giving Williams its third PU in less than four days of pre-season testing. Deputy team principal Claire Williams admitted that the situation is troubling, given the reduced amount of testing days this season.
“We’ve had a few issues with some engine problems, which has been a little frustrating,” Williams said. “We’re on our third engine issue now which has obviously cost us quite a lot of track time, which is unfortunate. I suppose it is what can happen in testing, and I suppose at least it is not our issue that something has gone wrong with the car…
“Apart from that it has gone well – we’re covering the run program as we can with the limited mileage that we’ve got. I would be happier if we had got some more miles under our belt, I suppose.”
While Mercedes’ works team enjoyed strong mileage on Wednesday, Williams insisted that the issues are solely related to the power unit supplier and are not influenced by the car.
“The cause of the one today was an oil system issue, so it’s on the Mercedes side.,” she said. “There were some other issues last week. The one on Friday they are still investigating, so you should talk to them about that, I don’t think they’ve found the problem there. I think there was an issue with the MGU-H on the Thursday night one, an oil leak on the MGU-H.
“There was a sensor issue on Friday morning that obviously was our issue; that put us off the track for probably half an hour. That was the only issue that we’ve had.”
Despite the lack of running, Williams is hopeful the team can have two strong final days with George Russell and Nicholas Latifi to tick off more key items before the opening race in Australia.
“It’s still good,” she said. “I think everyone’s probably a little frustrated because we’ve obviously got – as everyone will – a very full program to get through. When you lose the number of kilometers that we’ve lost it is frustrating, because it means you can’t prepare as best as you’d like to do ahead of going to Melbourne. You have to sacrifice certain parts of your program in favor of others.
“Obviously we wanted to do the full program, but it is what it is. We’ve just got to get on with it and hope that we don’t have any further issues in the next two days and we can get as many laps in as possible with George and Nicholas on Thursday and Friday to set us up in the best possible way for Melbourne.”