Claire Williams says “I never get too optimistic” ahead of massive regulation changes such as those planned for the 2017 Formula One season, despite her team taking advantage of the last rules revolution in 2014.
Next year will see the introduction of faster and more aggressive-looking cars in a bid to reshuffle the pecking order and make F1 more exciting.
The previous technical overhaul marked the start of the current 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged era, with Williams bouncing back from ninth in the Constructors’ standings in 2013 to third the following year as it switched from Renault to Mercedes power.
“I never get too optimistic before the start of a year with new regulation,” Williams said while her team announced its 2017 driver line-up on Thursday.
“Next year we do have sweeping regulations and the team did a fantastic job to achieve what they achieved in 2014, especially off the back of a number of years we finished eighth, ninth in the championship.
“But it’s early days, we have to wait and see. I know the teams in aero, in engineering, and in design have done a fantastic job so far to the point where we are increasing their targets, but you don’t know where you are until you get to the first test or first race because you don’t know what your rivals have managed to achieve.”
After finishing P3 in the past two Constructors’ championships, Williams has slipped down the competitive order and is currently fighting over fourth place with Force India. Grove’s deputy team principal insists the revered British outfit’s aim remains to feature at the sharp end of the grid.
“As I keep saying, we have clear objectives and we’re here to win, we’re not here to be a midfield team and finish 15th, 16th. So the pressure is on, the pressure is on everybody at Grove in order to make those changes.
“We’re still doing some work behind the scenes, as you would expect, Formula One teams are ever-evolving, you have to look at your areas of weakness to make sure you’re addressing those areas and have got the right people in place to achieving the objectives you set for yourself.
“It’s too early to look ahead into 2017 to see where we’re going to be, but I know we’re doing the work we need to do in order to make that step forward.”