24 August 2013
Reviving Williams will be a challenge, admits Symonds
Appearing in his new team colours at the first time at Spa this weekend, Pat Symonds has admitted that restoring Williams to its former glories will be tough - but that the team has what it takes.
In his first few days since joining Williams F1 as the team's new chief technical officer, Pat Symonds was clearly all too aware of how much work lies ahead for him and the team to get them back to race-winning form in the coming year.
"Williams does have that incredible heritage and it's a heritage I respect a lot," said the 60-year-old, making his first appearance in Williams team colours on Friday. "But we can't live in the past. They were great times, of course they were, but my job now is to make the team today as successful as it was then. It's quite a challenge but it's a very enjoyable challenge.
Symonds had previously been working at Marussia as a consultant since the 'Crashgate' scandal in 2008 that saw him lose his position as Renault's director of Engineering.
He insisted that the basic ingredients for a strong revival were already in place: "The fundamentals of the team are there. It's a very well equipped team, it has some very good people in it. An analogy I often use is it's like being the conductor of an orchestra. I think we have some very good instrumentalists in our orchestra. And now we just really need to get them timed together, playing the same tune and bring the success back."
In a Friday of mixed weather conditions, Pastor Maldonado was the fastest of the two Williams drivers with the 14th quickest time of the day while Valtteri Bottas was in 17th in the timesheets half a second off the pace of his team mate by the end of the two 90 minute sessions.
"Today I was struggling to get the right balance in the car and there is still a lot of work we need to do to get us to where we want to be," said Maldonado. "We are not very far from unlocking more speed, but the others around us are also making gains which makes it difficult to close the gap. Nevertheless we will try to optimise what we have and adjust the set-up to find improvements in the balance ahead of the weekend.
"It was difficult to test anything in the first session because of the variable weather," said Bottas, saying that the afternoon session had proved more productive. "We conducted some interesting tests so we will now be analysing the data from those to make improvements to the set-up for tomorrow. My car is currently more competitive on the prime tyre, and we still have work to do to improve the overall balance on the option tyre."
Symonds' task at trackside is complicated by the team having to divide its attentions between the remainder of this year's championship and preparing for the new technical specifications that will be introduced in 2014.
"You've got to decide where to put your priorities,' Symonds agreed. "When we have reasonably stable regulations you iterate to those priorities. Arguably if you have very stable regulations, everyone iterates towards a very similar design. You also iterate to similar processes.
"Now when the rule book is ripped up and you start again, you really have to think about what processes are important, what's going to bring you performance," he explained. "And of course while everyone is focused on the powertrain and there are a lot of things to do there - cooling's a huge challenger, energy management is a huge challenge - but of course we must not forget that it's a reasonably significant aerodynamic change we're making to the cars.
"It may not sound much - moving the front wing in a little bit, losing the beam wing at the rear and small changes like that - but in actual fact the aerodynamics of the cars are so inter-related now that it really is something you need to think about a lot," he insisted. "And, of course, we never 'un-invent' anything, we never forget what we've already done. So we're not dropping any of our technologies in order to bring the new ones in, we're just adding to the job."
Belgian Grand Prix
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