until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Williams will trial immediate upgrade options in testing

by Matt Beer
4 min read

Williams could have an upgrade for its FW43B at the very first race of the 2021 Formula 1 season, as it will trial different parts in pre-season testing.

The British team is preparing for its first full season under the ownership of Dorilton Capital, and ex-McLaren men Jost Capito and Simon Roberts as CEO and team principal respectively.

Though Williams failed to score a point in 2020 it went a long way to recovering the deficit it experienced in 2019 and was more competitive in the back half of the F1 midfield, while off-track it was boosted financially by the Williams family’s decision to sell to Dorilton.

Williams has a dedicated team at Grove working on next year’s major rule changes, which offer a huge opportunity to make a bigger step in the pecking order.

But it has also opted to commit resources to its FW43B as well, starting with trying upgrades in testing and planning to evolve the car further through the year.

09 Highback 6 Studio V001 Edit

“The development plan for the 43B is an interesting topic because we’re trying to now design and develop the car for 22, which is an enormous change,” said Roberts.

“It’s a complete new set of regulations, with no carryover, but it’s also an opportunity because we have done some work on this car.

“Interestingly, we’ve got a few options that we’re taking to Bahrain to the test.

“It’s almost a first race upgrade, which is really really cool, I’m really excited about that.

“And we actually have got an upgrade plan through the year.

“But it’s going to be pretty modest and I expect like other teams we’ll be looking very carefully at how we put our resource on that.”

06 Side 6 Studio V001 Edit

Pre-season testing begins in Bahrain next week on February 12, lasting only three days before the season opener at the same venue two weeks later.

Roberts joked that “you could take that one of two ways” when asked by The Race if his remark about a first race upgrade meant the team was ahead of where it expected to be in designing and producing parts: “Either ahead of schedule or we can’t make our mind up what we really want!”

“But yeah, we’ve got some options,” he added.

“So, we’re going with a range of parts that we’ll get on the car.

“It’s great, it’s a nice position to be in. Both drives will get to try both options and we’ve got enough parts around us to convert stock for the race.

“It could be a first race upgrade, which would be a nice place to be.”

Teams have to use ‘carryover cars’ in 2021 as part of cost-saving measures introduced last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, which include restricting the development of major mechanical parts.

Decal 01 0000 Edit

They were each given two development tokens to spend on components, with big items like rear suspension costing two tokens and smaller items costing only one.

Roberts revealed that Williams spent one of its tokens last year on an undisclosed smaller item and as that only left it one more to spend, the team opted not to make further modifications to the FW43B.

However, he said that the car does have some substantial differences to its predecessor, chiefly that it seems to be considerably lighter.

Mar 05 : How Williams has attacked its 2021 F1 car design

The FW43B comes in under the mandated weight limit, which means Williams is able to use ballast to aid weight distribution.

“We’ve taken the time and we’ve been around everything we can possibly touch to try and save weight,” Roberts said.

“We’ve rebalanced all the coolers on the car. We’ve re-optimised everything we could.

“And it’s not the normal kind of rush into it because we know the car, we’ve been racing it for 17 races last year, so we’ve got tonnes of data.

03 Low34 6 Studio V001 Edit

“It’s allowed the engineers to really go to a level that we don’t always get the chance to do.

“If you could literally take the skin off the car and have a look, it’s so neat, it’s so tidy underneath. And we’ve saved quite a bit of weight on it.

“The thing is easier to build, it goes together really nicely. Hopefully it’ll be more reliable, and that’s certainly the intent.

“All those little things you never quite get a chance to fix, we’ve been able to sort out.

“And the target is to find some more performance, be more reliable and start moving our way up.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks