Williams boosted by first-time passes in FIA crash tests

Roy Nissany (ISR) Williams Racing FW42 Test Driver.
© XPB 

The Williams team has achieved a major milestone in its preparations for the 2020 world championship after its new chassis completed the mandatory programme of FIA crash testing - many of them at its first attempt.

That's in marked contrast to last year, where the team was beset by troubles with the FW42 and ultimately missed the first few days of pre-season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya because the car simply wasn't ready in time.

“One of the first signs of success for us is that we passed all our crash tests," said the team's deputy team principal Claire Williams.

"Most of which we did at the first attempt, rather than like last year where we failed many of them - even at the sixth attempt!

“[This year] we've built ourselves a huge amount of contingency time to ensure that if something does go wrong, we're okay and we've got some cover.”

Starting last season so far behind their rivals put Williams in an irretrievable bad situation for the rest of the year," she explained.

"[Failing the crash tests] obviously puts even more pressure into the system, because then you're having to deal with a crash test rather than worrying about getting the car out. So [passing them so early this time] has been a good milestone for us over the winter.”

She explained that a major behind-the-scenes restructuring of how the team worked had been aimed at ensuring there would be no repeat of last year's disastrous season.

“We set ourselves some really tough targets over the winter - around aero in particular, about finding performance, and then on some mechanical issues as well,” she told a media event in Tel Aviv on Monday.

"These have been going well," she continued. “Obviously the key target now is getting the car to that [pre-season] test on time, and at the lights when they go green if not before.

"I have absolute confidence that that will happen," she added, while also sounding a note of caution about raised expectations. "I've always said is it is going to be a journey. We started it last year and we started seeing the grass shoots [at the end of 2019].

"But there's only so much you can do in the course of a season," she acknowledged. "We're going to have to wait and see until we get to February testing [to really know] where we are.

“We've got to make progress. I believe that we will, but to what level we can't define yet," she said. "We don't know what our competitors are doing.”

The pressure is clearly on Williams and her management team to deliver, with leading pundits including Sky Sports' Martin Brundle suggesting it was time for change at the top if things didn't improve soon.

"I would ask Claire to move upstairs into a more presidential role," Brundle told Motor Sport Magazine. "Get in somebody like [McLaren boss] Andreas Seidl and give them full autonomy.

"F1 success is all about tomorrow, not yesterday," he warned.

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