Williams buoyed by ‘significantly different’ 2016 design

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Coming off its second consecutive third-place finish in the Constructors’ championship, Williams will field a “significantly different” car in 2016, according to performance chief Rob Smedley.

The British team has enjoyed a brisk recovery since switching to Mercedes power in the 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged era, picking up 13 podium finishes over the past two seasons.

However, Williams’ performance tailed off in the closing stages of its 2015 campaign, with Red Bull and Force India looking more competitive down the stretch. Smedley explains that the slump was due to his squad turning their attention towards the future FW38 at an earlier date.

“The end of the season has been slightly lacklustre compared to last year but last year we developed the car right up until the very last moment,” he said.

“This year, having been more comfortable and consolidated in third, our thoughts switched to 2016 and 2017.”

Grove’s head of performance of engineering adds that next year’s radical design prevented Williams from sampling any new-for-2016 parts during the season-ending Abu Grand Prix weekend.

“The 2016 car we have in the wind tunnel and the 2015 car are significantly different, so there's nothing we could do from an aerodynamic point of view.

“Other parts of R&D [research and development] and the mechanical design we are trialling things all the time.

“We think that everything we are seeing at the minute is good. We're hitting targets. We are always looking, not just at numbers, but in other areas aerodynamic development as well, other significant areas.

“It's all ongoing, it's a process of getting us back towards the front. At the moment we are reasonably happy with what we are seeing.

“Of course, it's all relative. We could have a stellar development and Ferrari and Red Bull could have an even more stellar one.”

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