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Williams improvements in downforce and drag caused high wind sensitivity on their car

George Russell. Credits: Williams Racing.

Dave Robson, Williams’ head of vehicle performance admitted that Williams’ aerodynamics progresses caused the FW43B to be more sensitive to wind gusts.

The Bahrain Grand Prix should be animated by capricious weather due to wind gusts. Lewis Hamilton mentioned how difficult it is to negotiate a turn when the wind direction or intensity brutally changes.

This will probably be a big issue for Williams this weekend as their head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson admitted that the FW43B is more sensitive to wind gusts than their previous single-seater.

“I think we have made it a bit worse. Not by intention, but it’s part of how you have to make some trades to make some breakthroughs with generating downforce or reducing drag,” says Robson, talking about wind sensitivity on their 2021 challenger.

“We’re in that phase where the straight line downforce and the drag of the car are both better than they were last year. (…) The current price we’re paying for that is a slightly increased sensitivity to the wind and the job at the moment is to hang onto the good stuff and recover some of that yaw sensitivity,” he added.

The 44 years old engineer also confirmed that the Grove-based team is focusing most of its forces towards the development of their 2022 challenger that could represent a great opportunity for Williams to detach itself from the back of the grid. Improvements in terms of wind sensitivity should therefore take longer than usual and Williams could suffer from this issue for a good part of the season.

“I think we’ll see fewer upgrades than normal – because a lot of the factory’s attention now is turned onto next year’s car. (…) But I think we would definitely like to improve the wind sensitivity this year and I think there will be some test parts hopefully in a few races time that will help us take a step in that direction – that’s the plan, anyway.”

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