Williams FW38 ‘not a one-trick pony’, Smedley insists

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Williams performance chief Rob Smedley insists this year’s FW38 is ‘not a one-trick pony’ that can only perform on power-sensitive tracks.

The British team made a clever switch to Mercedes engines ahead of the current 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged regulations, finishing third in the Constructors’ championship in the past couple of seasons.

The Grove-based outfit appears to have slipped behind Renault-powered Red Bull in the 2016 pecking order though, with the gap to front-runners Mercedes and Ferrari also growing.

However, Williams heads to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix on the back of its best result of the season, having claimed fourth and fifth in Russia last time out. While drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa admitted their surge in performance was track-related, Smedley is confident Williams has more assets up its sleeve.

“You’ve got to remember that we are not a one trick pony, this is not purely about power round Sochi,” the ex-Ferrari man said. “We've got cars with exactly the same power unit who we’ve managed to either move towards or move away from so it is a little bit about how we are managing the tyres as well or how we are using the tyres over a single timed lap, which has certainly helped us and managing the tyres in the race.

Smedley concedes the next couple of races in Spain and Monaco, which puts less emphasis on outright power, do not play to the strengths of the FW38. But the British engineer is confident Williams has addressed the fundamental issues that led last year’s car to struggle around the streets of Monte Carlo.

“I would hope that yes characteristic wise they are not the greatest circuits for us but we’ve just got to go there and take everything that we can from them. Certainly we’re not scared of those circuits, we’ll go there and do the absolute best and I’m convinced we’ll do better than we did, certainly in Monaco than last year with all the work that we’ve done.”

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