Rob Smedley says Williams will adopt a more radical approach for its 2016 Formula 1 challenger having begun work on its next generation car earlier than usual.
Following its dramatic turnaround in form last season, Williams consolidated its third position in the overall standings in 2015 with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa notching up four podiums between them on the way to fifth and sixth in the overall standings.
Though it would finish comfortably behind Mercedes and Ferrari in the constructors' standings, its advantage over Red Bull Racing nonetheless afforded it the opportunity to begin work on its 2016 challenger – the FW38 – earlier than otherwise would have done in the midst of battle.
Using this as a reason for why Williams' form wavered in the closing races, Smedley says the earlier start nonetheless means the team have been afforded the opportunity to deviate beyond the 'evolutionary' approach to both this year's design and for 2017.
“The end of the season has been slightly lacklustre compared to last year but last year we developed the car right up until the very last moment,” he said. “This year, having been more comfortable and consolidated in third, our thoughts switched to 2016 and 2017.
Indeed, such are the changes to the package that Smedley says Williams couldn't take the opportunity to trial any new aerodynamic parts with a view to 2016.
“The 2016 car we have in the wind tunnel and the 2015 car is significantly different, so there's nothing we could do from an aerodynamic point of view. Other parts of R&D and the mechanical design we are trialling things all the time.
“We think that everything we are seeing at the minute is good. We're hitting targets. We are always looking, not just at numbers, but in other areas aerodynamic development as well. Other significant areas of development so it's all ongoing, it's a process of getting us back towards the front. At the moment we are reasonably happy with what we are seeing.”