Williams admitted that its new 2021 challenger is characterized by a peaky downforce, which was not planned initially, but it was created due to the new regulations that came into play in 2021.
Williams improved the car’s performance compared to the previous years, but while it is extremely good in certain conditions, the new 2021 machinery suffers a lot the heavy wind conditions and turbulences.
About this new characteristic of the car, spent some words, Simon Roberts, Williams Team Principal.
“That wasn’t the strategic approach,” he said. “Our approach was simple: there were changes to the regulations, and we were going to lose downforce, and the team worked as hard as they could to recover that downforce. And I think we’re not the only team.
“Look up and down the pit lane under certain conditions, and all the cars are more sensitive than they used to be last year. Our car may or may not be worse than others, but it’s a consequence of the regulations and what we could within the homologated parts and the time available.
“It wasn’t a plan. It wouldn’t have been a great thing to do.”
Williams seems faster in qualifying, both drivers proved it in Imola, and George Russell almost managed to get into Q3 in Portimao. However, the pace is not there during the race, and both drivers struggled a lot during the race in Portugal.
Simon Roberts also spoke about last week’s poor performance during the race: “It wasn’t such a surprise. We were, I guess, over-optimistic, having had such fantastic qualifying but the true pace of the car never really changed.
“We had a good start – George had a good start. And if it hadn’t had been for the red flag [safety car] – who knows? That was kind of the race pace, those conditions on that day.
“It was unique conditions in Portugal, and you saw in Imola, two weeks before, it was the same car, but it was much more competitive. I think we were disappointed because we were so optimistic, but the reality is, when you look at the data, it was less of a surprise.”
Finally, Roberts said the team was trying everything to make the car less sensible, but it is not easy, especially due to the current homologation restrictions.
“We’re doing everything we can,” he said. “The challenge with these cars, with the combination of a lot of homologated components and then some mandated changes to the floor and rear brake ducts, the first thing we did which the guys at the factory and the girls at the factory, was recovered as much performance as we could to try and make our car competitive.
“The data shows we have done that. The car is better than it was last year. The downside is that it’s more sensitive, so occasionally that gets exposed, other times it doesn’t. It’s a combination of circumstances.”