Despite not turning a wheel since a positive pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in February, the rate of development in Formula 1 is such that F1 teams, including Williams plan on bringing upgrades to their 2020 FW43 at the season-opening Grand Prix in Austria this weekend.
Months of inactivity as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic prompted F1 to reschedule its annual mid-season shut-down – traditionally held in summer – in order to maximise the time available to squeeze in a condensed full season later in the year when the virus has retreated sufficiently to allow for racing.
This has impacted the amount of work teams have been able to do in developing their cars since pre-season testing, and yet most teams have managed to develop their cars to an extent. Ferrari have gone so far as to ‘change aerodynamic direction’ after an underwhelming Barcelona test suggested their SF90 was fundamentally flawed.
And despite the upheaval, and a great deal of uncertainty around Williams’ future as a result of title-sponsor ROKiT’s withdrawal, and the announcement that Williams is up for sale, the team have pushed forward with developing their car in the hope they can make some serious on-track progress after a couple of lean years.
“Our upgrade programme was clearly affected as everybody else’s was, but I have to say that the operations and planning departments have done a fantastic job to make sure that we get to the first rounds with some level of upgrades on the car” Williams Deputy Principal Claire Williams told The Race.
“That’s only thanks to a lot of hard work that the manufacturing team has put in back in the factory out of the official lockdown periods.”
“As soon as we were able to start producing the upgrades we did, but I think most importantly for us, it was making sure that we had the race quantities to manage the triple-header going into Austria.”
“We’re pleased with where we are. We’re in pretty good shape.” she added, which will give heart to Williams fans keen for some good news amid all the challenges.