Without warning, the slightly modified Williams FW44 arrived at the third round of the 2022 Formula 1 season, the Australian GP. The main reason for this change is because the British team continues to seek more performance and, in turn, reduce the weight of the car.
Dave Robson , Director of Performance at Williams, explained the introduction of black to various areas of the car: “Of course you always strive to make the car even lighter. And the paint plays a part in reducing the weight of the car. car”.
Or more drastically as Williams has done; directly leaving unpainted areas. The FW44 hit the Albert Park tarmac with some bare spots, right down to the carbon fiber outer shell.
“It’s a very difficult task to get these cars under the minimum weight. We’ll continue to work on that, because we have no idea where we are compared to other teams on the overweight issue. It’s hard to say.”
Weight isn’t Williams’ only flaw in 2022 F1
Another Williams deficit is much easier to recognize, according to Alex Albon: “Our weakness at the moment is mostly slow cornering. The top teams seem to be quite a bit ahead of the rest. And we have to focus on that, because so Until now we have had problems in the slow zones and especially under braking”.
The Williams FW44 only “feels pretty good” in medium-fast and fast corners, Albon said. “Just based on the GPS data, I would say we are average. Our car is also quite efficient in terms of drag. And we are quick on the straights.”
To align all of this, updates will be used which, according to Albon , should be available “soon”. “We want to improve the balance with this,” he explains. “But we’re not talking about a fundamental problem here or there. We just have to make things better overall.”
According to Robson , the balance issue is a recurring theme for Williams : “We’ve made progress and I think we’re starting to get quite competitive with the chassis, the set-up and more generally getting the car in the right window.”
“Apart from that, we just need a little more downforce to get the tires up to temperature. A lot of what we knew up to now is no longer relevant and you have to reconsider,” said the Grove team technician.
Robson admitted that they are focusing primarily on the underbody, “for more efficient downforce,” as he puts it. “If we could manage to increase the downforce a little bit without creating more drag, that would be ideal.”
Should Williams reconsider the 2022 F1 car concept?
Despite the obvious problems, Williams wants to stick to his current concept, at least with an eye to 2022: “Of course you have to keep an open mind, but at the moment I think our concept fits perfectly. And we have room to improve it even more.” .
The great difficulty when it comes to updating the single-seaters in 2022 is the new budget limit, with which they are forced to think things over more than before: “Should I spend the money on new parts? Better to wait a little longer for development than before.” be done in the wind tunnel and save money?
“It’s a really tough decision, because whether it’s right or wrong also depends on what the opponents are doing at the time. So it’s kind of a game, it’s fun and it’s hard at the same time,” Dave Robson concluded.