Williams started 2016 with great momentum, having carried over a lot of continuity from the previous season with very few staffing changes, along with an unchanged driver lineup of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.
“Williams has started to cement our position back amongst the front running teams after finishing third in the Championship in the past two seasons,” said Williams. “This has been a great achievement given the resources of those around us.”
The FW38 began the season with the same nosecone, front suspension and sidepods as the FW37, the new designs set to be added to the car by the time of the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
Having discovered in 2015 that their FW37 performed more poorly in slow corners as it did in high speed corners, Williams spent much of the close season working on their back end in an effort to improve slow cornering without compromising the areas where they found they had an advantage.
Sadly, by the time the car hit the track it became obvious that while slow cornering had indeed improved, it had been at the expense of high speed corner performance.
Drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, in their third season together as Williams team-mates, made use of the powerful Mercedes power unit to record the highest ever speed during a Formula 1 event when in qualifying for the 2016 European Grand Prix the FW38 was clocked at an incredible 235mph.
Williams achieved a single podium with the FW38 when Valtteri Bottas brought his car home in 3rd place in the Canadian Grand Prix of 2016.
Largely due to the lack of progress made with the FW38’s performance when cornering at speed and lack of upgrades in other areas, Williams lost ground on their rivals Force India and slipped back to fifth in the World Constructors Championship.
In what became a familiar story for Williams around this time, if they’d have really gone all out to push forward rather than playing safe, and settling for what they already had, they could have become a real challenger for wins.
Williams FW38 Specs
|Designed by:||Pat Symonds & Ed Wood|
|Official entrant:||Williams Martini Racing|
|Drivers:||Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas|
|Engine:||Mercedes 1.6 litre hybrid turbo V6|
|Brakes:||AP 6 piston front and 4 piston rear calipers. Carbon pads & discs|
|Transmission:||Williams 8-speed seamless sequential semi-automatic shift (plus reverse), gear selection electro-hydraulically actuated|
|Preceded by:||Williams FW37|
|Succeeded by:||Williams FW40|
Williams FW38 Results