Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson has admitted that the team's decision to pursue greater levels of downforce in 2021 has left them struggling with too much wind sensitivity.
"All aerodynamic cars have a yaw sensitivity and any that don’t simply don’t generate any downforce," Robson said after the Bahrain Grand Prix. "It goes with the territory.
“We’ve made it a bit worse [over the off-season]. Not by intention, but it’s part of how you have to make some trades to make some breakthroughs with creating downforce or reducing drag,”
Robson said that while the team had been willing to accept an increase in wind sensitivity with this year's FW43B, the eventual outcome has proven to be more severe than predicted.
“The characteristic is worse than we were expecting once we’d run the car at the test," he told The-Race.com website. "It’s not something we intended or wanted, but it's a feature of where the car is at the moment.
“It’s quite dominant in terms of how the car handles, it is quite a big feature,” he continued. “It’s something we’re working hard to improve.
“We certainly didn’t sit down and say we’re going to make this trade and try and be quick on any race where it’s not windy," he insisted. "That’s not what we set out to achieve.
"We were accepting of it being a bit more sensitive to drive up the total downforce and reduce the drag on the car [but] it’s come out a slightly different trade to the one we were expecting.
"Now it’s a case of understanding why that is and rectifying as best we can," he added. “The job at the moment is to hang on to the good stuff and recover some of that yaw sensitivity."
The team will be bringing in upgrades over the next few races to hopefully move it forward on the grid.
“We’ll see fewer upgrades than normal because a lot of the factory’s attention is turned onto next year’s car," Robson said. “But I think we would definitely like to improve the wind sensitivity this year.
"There will be some test parts hopefully in a few races’ time that will help us take a step in that direction. “That’s the plan anyway.
"I think if we can understand on this car how to better trade one for the other, that should also apply to next year’s car - at least philosophically if not in direct component comparison.”
Despite the problems faces by the team, George Russell was once again able to make it into the second round of qualifying in Bahrain and went on to finish in 14th place ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly and Mick Schumacher.
But Robson was disappointed not to be closer to Alfa Romeo, after Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi finished the weekend on the cusp of points in the season opener.
“To be fair to Alfa they have taken a good step,' said Robson. "If we can get close to them in the coming weeks, we can hopefully get into the back of that midfield. It is very close.
"It would be nice to regularly get into that group."