Following the announcement last week that Williams have been forced to cancel a planned shakedown test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona ahead of the first official Formula 1 pre-season test, it has now been announced that the team will also miss the first day of testing itself.
The reason for missing the test, according to Claire Williams, Williams’ Deputy Team Principal, is the aggressive development programme Williams set for themselves over the winter with the aim of avoiding last year’s catastrophic FW41, with which the team could only finish 10th and last in the F1 World Constructors Championship.
This has meant that the Williams FW42 isn’t yet ready to take to the track in a state where Williams will be able to make the most of their opportunity to test.
Williams said: “Unfortunately, we have had to delay the start of our pre-season Barcelona test to Tuesday morning.”
“We have had an incredibly busy winter at Grove getting the FW42 prepared for the season ahead and, despite everyone’s best efforts, we need some more time before it will be ready to run.”
“Our absolute priority is to always ensure we bring a car to the track that is the best that it can be and sometimes that takes longer than you’d anticipate or like. It’s clearly not ideal, but equally it’s not the end of the world.”
Cancelling a ‘filming day’ which is essentially a test day with certain limitations imposed on it is one thing, but to miss one of the eight official F1 test days is very worrying indeed.
We can only trust Williams’ official line, that it’s a case of them sacrificing a day’s running in Barcelona in order to maximise the other seven with a car that’s benefitted from an extra day in the factory, and not an indication that the crippling issues that Williams experienced with last year’s FW41 have carried over into 2019 as it might look from the outside.
“It’s not the end of the world.” said Claire.
Maybe not. But let’s hope it’s not the beginning of the end of the world.