Williams’ well-documented struggles this season are primarily due to a combination of inept cooling on their Williams FW41 and an errant update to their wind tunnel resulting in erroneous readings being fed back to the technical team according to Motorsport Magazine’s Mark Hughes.
Hughes reckons that Williams underestimated the amount of cooling required for their 2018 car, and finding a fix meant that they had to disturb the aerodynamics between the front wheels and the sidepods of the FW41, an area that is particularly sensitive and fundamentally important in sculpting the airflow to the rear of the car.
The second major issue was in the construction of the rolling road in their wind tunnel. A fault with an update to the simulated track surface, intended to give a truer representation of the texture of the asphalt and how the car interacts with it compromised their entire wind tunnel programme.
Consequently, the Williams FW41 was designed and built using incorrect information leading to inherent and serious flaws from the outset.
If Mark Hughes is correct, and they (Williams) are correct, then at least the issues have been identified, and can therefore be rectified.
If I were Mercedes and I was handing responsibility over to Williams for the next stage of George Russell’s development into a future World Champion, I’d want guarantees that he wasn’t going to be driving a car as bad as this years’ Williams FW41.
That Russell is now in the care of Williams suggests to me that Paddy Lowe and the team were able to demonstrate their findings, the effects of remedying them and that next year’s FW42 is a significant step forward.
Hopefully the combination of Russell, Mercedes power and the a team who, until last season, have always been one of the better exponents in creating an aerodynamically strong motor car to maximise the output of the Mercedes V6 can get this sleeping giant back to the front of the field where it belongs.