For the first time in a while I’m genuinely enthused about the noises coming from Williams with regards to performance gains made.
Comments made by Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams in the middle of a particularly sticky patch for the team have given me genuine hope that George Russell at least will be able to mix it with some of the cars around him – Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo and possibly the Haas cars and the Toro Rosso pair – from the moment the green light signals the start of FP1 tomorrow morning.
“The gap to P9 was 1.5 seconds and that is a huge amount to have to close down in the course of one season” said Claire.
“A lot of teams wouldn’t find 1.5s over the course of one year so, at the start, it was about not seeing that gap get any bigger and seeing some small gains.”
“I am pleased that we have made perhaps bigger gains than we ever anticipated we could.”
“We have to wait and see what this new performance brings us [then] we will be able to judge what we can do for the balance of the year, but I hope it does make us – or propels us – back in to the fight, because the drivers want to be fighting the other teams.”
Last time out at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix Williams modified its turning vanes in an effort to improve airflow towards the sidepods.
Ahead of the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim they’ve completely rethought their bargeboards which now feature a sequence of serrations to address the airflow around the suspension taking it and guiding it past the sidepods.
Another clever device introduced by Williams for Hockenheim is the ‘boomerang’ seen up and down the pitlane that processes the air coming from the front wheels before guiding it on its way towards the sidepods.
The FW42 also gets a new floor with a slightly different design philosophy encouraging more ‘outwash’ towards the rest of the car.
All in all a significant step forward that we hope will translate into a decent chunk of time on track.
And when the rain arrives on Sunday, the race is anybody’s!