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Williams pushes ahead with FW43 development

By Andrew Hooper
July 22 2020

 Williams pushes ahead with FW43 development
FW43 updated front suspension

The opening three races of the 2020 Formula One season has seen the Williams Racing Team through their 2020 challenger the FW43 produce some performances that have been a significant improvement over their 2019 efforts. In the recent Hungarian Grand Prix the team would both both drivers progress into the second period of qualifying of the first time since 2018.

Even with these notable performances the team is still looking to find gains in their cars as well as address some issues that have become apparent in these opening races. Such is the drive within the team that upgrades to the FW43 have already started to make an appearance. The recent Hungarian Grand Prix would see the car of George Russell run with updated front suspension as well as the team working through various configurations of rear wings in line with the particular circuit that they are running on. In Hungary the FW43 run with a high downforce rear wing on George's car.

Such is the pace of development , relative to the size of the smaller Williams team, that the updates will now be seen on both George's and Nicholas Latifi's car in the upcoming British Grand Prix. The team has viewed that the updates trialled in Austria and Hungary offered a clear performance benefit so it is worthwhile to have them on both cars.

Williamsí Dave Robson believes George's performance in Hungary was partly through the updated components which teammate Nicholas was not using.

in Austria Robson said: "It is quite powerful here, so probably Nicholas was always going to find it a little bit harder here relative to George."

Robson added: "They have been alternating it. We had wet qualifying [in Austria] so it is hard to say, but I think that having both experienced it on and off, they are very convinced that it is a clear advantage.

"So they will both be furnished with it in the next race at Silverstone. But I couldnít put a number on it."

Even though the Williams team has found pace in the FW43 there is still an issue that needs to be addressed that of improving the cars race pace but even with this the improvement over the performance of the 2019 FW42 is noteworthy.

In an interview with George spoke of the issues that he saw with the FW43.

George said: "Itís a bit strange at the moment, weíve had three races now, two very good qualifying's, one good qualifying and three very poor races. That had not been the case last year. Last year our race pace was better than our qualifying pace.

ďOur car is very sensitive to following others and becomes very difficult to control when following others and obviously on a Saturday youíre not following others. So thatís the only understanding we think we can take away from this.

ďI feel like I just lose quite a lot of downforce and the car becomes quite unpredictable. The carís very strong and feels really nice to drive in a qualifying format, but just in the race when following cars it isnít.

"It takes confidence away from me and when Iím in clear air in the race our pace is strong, or during a practice session in clear air with high fuel the pace is strong, so all things are pointing towards or indicating itís when we are following and our aero sensitivity is too high.Ē

As for his views on the next race at Silverstone George seemed to be unsure of how the FW43 will perform on the fast Silverstone track.

George added: ďIn all honesty Iím not overly sure. I think on paper Hungary is going to be the circuit that suits us most and our car characteristics most. I think that was proven in qualifying.

"I think our performance in Austria qualifying round one was probably the true pace of the car in a dry condition, obviously race two was wet and things were all mixed up so ultimately I think our goal and our realistic competitors are the Alfas and the Haas and fighting to get into Q2 following on from these three events.Ē

Despite the uncertainty as to how the FW43 will perform Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams spoke of how the return been semi competitive has been a relief for all at the Williams Team.

In an interview with F1 Nation's Tom Clarkson Claire said: "There are quite a lot of emotions as you might imagine, because we have been through the mill for the past couple of years. Itís been extraordinarily painfulÖ and donít forget we were also given a beating while we were down as well by some people, and it has been really difficult.

"The emotions are running quite high at the moment, and theyíre a mixed bag of them.

"Relief, clearly, is flooding through the team. We did promise that we were going to deliver improved performance this year, and Iím so pleased that we managed to deliver on that promise, it was very important to us.

"The excitement is back, the adrenaline is back, sitting there watching the cars go out and knowing that they can do something other than come last in quali and last in the race.

"You quickly forget after two years what that does feel like.

"I just feel we can all hold our heads up a little bit higher because itís never nice when youíre down and to have to try and keep holding your head up is difficult."


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