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ROKiT Williams Pre-season Testing Claire Williams Q&A

By Andrew Hooper
February 21 2020

 ROKiT Williams Pre-season Testing Claire Williams Q&A
Claire Williams

On the third day of week one of the 2020 pre-season testing ROKiT Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams took the time to answer questions from the media.

Was Claire feeling a lot more comfortable than she did exactly a year ago?

"I have a smile on my face that hasn't come off since Wednesday morning. Obviously after the dramas of last year it was great to see the car go out first on Wednesday morning. A huge amount of effort has obviously gone into achieving that but as we said in the press release Wednesday getting your car out first doesn't win you any prizes but I think for us it was just another milestone on our journey to recovery and it was important for us to return a little bit of pride and dignity to the team after last year.

She was then asked about whether the performance of the FW43 was what was expected:

Yeah it is, obviously you're going through a period of learning through testing as everyone is, we have a very comprehensive run programme that's going according to schedule and we had a bit of a time delay yesterday with an incident and we had some investigative work around a certain part of the car, could of caused us to do slight fewer number of kmh then what we would of like, but Monday was a really comprehensive day, we got all of out program done that we wanted too, and today its going well as well, so I think certainly if we are talking to the drivers, they feel that the car is a lot more balanced and a lot more stable from last years version, so I think we are in a good place but there is still a lot more work to do in preparation for Melbourne.

As for the delay in George Russell returning to the track on his day of testing Claire answered:

It was a sensor issue, so we as obviously like everyone in the morning, are doing there rake work and there was just a sensor issue, one of the sensors wasn't working well on the floor, so we had to take off the floor completely and it was no major problem we just had turn it back on.

As for the fact that the FW43 is quicker than the times achieved in qualifying in last years Spanish Grand Prix Claire responded:

Yeah I think like you said, its too early to tell where anybody is because we're all just doing, our individual programs to get any data to properly compare and contrast is difficult but we certainly feel that we have made a step forward, but as I said there is still an awful lot of work to get the car into the best possible shape that it needs to be going into Melbourne and it wont be until we get to Melbourne that we will truly understand whether we are in a competitive order, I'm sure we will get more data as more people will start to do proper qualifying runs but until then we need to wait and see.

Claire was asked what she thought of Mercedes new steering wheel device?

To be honest I haven't really looked at what a lot of other people are doing, I'm more focused on what we are doing and on our engineers so its not something im thinking too much about.

Claire was then asked as to what the realistic objectives for the year are:

To make progress, we have always said that, we said it last year, we said it this year, we are still on our journey to recovery and still putting bricks in the wall in order to achieve that and I think certainly for everybody that has been working behind the scenes at Grove over the last 12 months, we have all undergone huge transformation and change and what we would like to see now is the rewards of that change, because business is really unrecognisable from where we were from everything, whether that be structures, processes, policies, etc, how we go about designing and building a race car is very different from what it was in 2018 and prior to that. So to continue learning is obviously a key objective, we are still going to be learning over the course of this year, in order to make continual improvement and that's what we have to demonstrate and im so pleased to see the changes that we have made being embraced by everybody within the team and I think we are starting to see some sort of rewards from those changes that we put in place, but we still have a long way to go to get Williams back to where we want too see it.

She was then asked about closing the gap to the teams in front:

We want to go racing, we are here in formula 1 to go racing, that's why Williams exists, we are not here to do anything else, we are here because we love racing, and just last year we weren't racing, Robert and George were racing each other, we want to come to each race and have the ability to fight and have a realistic a Q2 position and to fight for a position in the race that is going to brings our pride back I suppose, and that George and Nick have the opportunity to fight with the midfield competitors.

As for Nicholas Latifi Claire was asked as to what she thought of his potential and how she saw him going:

We are really pleased with our line-up this year, Nick was obviously with the team last year and his reserve driver role and undertook quite a lot of track time in his FP1 sessions, he did 6 for us last year and then test days as well, so we understand him as a driver but again until we get the first few races, we are not going to truly understand where he is from a competitive stance, but he got the right ingredients outside of the cockpit, we've certainly seen that demonstrated over the course of last year, he's technically very capable, he's driven and committed just as much as George is, so to have two drivers like that in your car, despite the fact that they might be young with Nick being a rookie and George is in his second year, we think we have huge confidence in what they are going to be able to deliver throughout the racing season this year.

Claire was asked as to what has changed in terms of the the processes inside the factory, was it actual systems or facilities, or investment, what has Williams done to change from 2018 to where they are now:

Its been everything, i think probably from the back of testing last year where we hit rock bottom, and i think i have talked a lot about in the media that we undertook a few after action review, not just of car build but from the whole process of designing a race car and aero taking it through to the design office and then build and manufacture of that car. We have left no stone unturned to investigate how every step of that process works and made necessary changes where we needed too, there have been headline areas that we have focused on so putting a very comprehensive planning function in place is something we have done, we now have a planning team, 8 strong, that have certain areas of the business that each individual is focused on to make sure that we see a design right through aero, right through to the end of the process.

That planning function is not something in that guise we have had in a number of years here at Williams, that was one of the major reasons we fell down last year in 2019 not getting our car to testing. We've made considerable changes to our operations function as well so from bringing in new senior people, with a wealth of experience to augment the talent that we already have in that area, but also looking at the capacity that we have in our operations, as everybody knows, we are an independent constructor that is very proud to make all our parts in house, but when you've got such a complex set of technical regulations that creates the car, you're requiring 26,000 car parts these days, that's not an easy challenge, so we have restructured how our operations work from a capacity perspective in particular around shifts mainly, so we can map the capacity that we've got and truly understand how long each individual part takes to make therefore when you need to put it in the system to get it out the other end at the right time.

What else have we done. Prior to probably to the start of last year, we looked at aero and design to make sure we had the talent that we needed in those areas and to make sure that they were structured in the right way and each channel feeding into those areas was in the right place and reporting in the appropriate way, so its really been no stone left unturned to look at what we are doing and the team is working, you can sense the difference in the team, you can sense the greater of level of communication amongst all the areas across the various departments and you can tell the spirit has always been there, but its there more than I've ever seen it before and everybody is working incredibly hard to make sure we deliver performance over the course of this year. Planning and operations would probably be the biggest part, we have outsourced some of our elements of our manufacturing in order to elevate the pressure that has been put into the system, because unless you have an unlimited budget, unlike us, its been very difficult to manufactory every single part in house, which is what we have been trying to do, and falling down in the past couple of years.


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ROKiT Williams Pre-season Testing Claire Williams Q&A
Discussion started by Williams F1 , 21/02/2020 13:03
Williams F1
21/02/2020 13:03
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21/02/2020 17:08
To me this says it all, having been a programme manager and a delivery manager I cannot beleive they got rid of a planning / programme team, it was one of the first things the Head and Derney team put in place when they had the money.
It is vital this exists so I wonder who let this slip in to the abyss in the 2017 .

"there have been headline areas that we have focused on so putting a very comprehensive planning function in place is something we have done, we now have a planning team, 8 strong, that have certain areas of the business that each individual is focused on to make sure that we see a design right through aero, right through to the end of the process."

Regards Peter



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