“It is looking more likely than not that we will now not be in a position to run on track until Wednesday at the earliest. This is obviously extremely disappointing, but it is unfortunately the situation we are in. We will be getting the FW42 on track as soon as we are able.” Claire Williams.
Eight days is all the testing Formula 1 teams have available to them prior to the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season. Eight days.
Williams, who had the worst car bar none in the 2018 Formula 1 season, are now certain to miss 25% of them, possibly more.
While I’m all for getting the car right in the factory before taking it to a track rather than turning up for testing knowing that there are problems, Williams’ nine rivals – all of whom produced better cars in 2018, have now stolen a march on the team.
So what could be behind the delay?
Without insider info or an explanatory press release it’s difficult to speculate on the reasons behind Williams absence in pre-season testing.
With Williams FW41 revealing itself to be a dud so early in the 2018 season leaving a good chunk of the year to think about the FW42 I would assume that all the simulator and wind-tunnel testing was completed a long time ago.
With the issues of correlation between Williams’ rolling road and the racetrack having been remedied (according to Paddy Lowe), you’d think that the aerodynamic stalls that hampered the FW41 have been eradicated.
Additionally a lot of the problems with cooling that affected the FW41 should have been fixed, as the entire operation was focussed on it for such long periods of time in 2018.
I’d also rule out any issues with the Mercedes engine as both Racing Point and the Mercedes works team have made it to Barcelona on time.
So what does that leave that’s going to prevent the car from taking to the track?
It must be something pretty integral to the functioning of the car and something Williams are responsible for constructing themselves. Transmission for example.
But why would it prevent the team taking to the track with a sort of FW41/FW42 hybrid to at least test certain parts – new aerodynamic devices for example? After all, we know the team have a FW41 in Barcelona after a photo appeared online earlier in the week. Surely any running is better than no running?
To end on a positive, in 2009 Brawn GP didn’t attend any of the pre-season tests, and they did okay!
Maybe Williams are trying to pull off the world’s greatest ever attempt at sandbagging. Perhaps they have something that is going to change the face of F1 and they don’t want any of their rivals to clock it with a month to go before the start of the season. And whatever it is means they already have both championships in the bag.
I mean, it could happen!