Pat Symonds believes the revised tyre rules will continue to alter race strategies this weekend at the Russian Grand Prix which Williams is keen to learn from and maximise any opportunities.
Since the new Pirelli tyre regulations were introduced – enabling teams more freedom on tyre selections – it has caused a significant variation in strategies which has subsequently caused shake-ups in the running order.
Teams and drivers who have been most proactive to the unexpected have profited, notably Haas and Romain Grosjean in Australia and Bahrain, while Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa have been prominent losers in the new tyre changes which has led to the British team looking to revise any strategies in order to be more reactive in races.
Williams chief technical officer Symonds believes the variation in strategies with tyres will continue at Sochi and may see the race in Sochi unfold in a different manner to the two previous Russian Grand Prix.
“In the past, harder tyres have been quite competitive, whereas the super-soft tyres we see in qualifying might be quite difficult to get good performance out of at the end of the lap from turns 13 to 18,” Symonds said. “Last year it was an easy one-stop race but having the super-soft tyres in use this year - which some cars will be required to start on depending on qualifying position - may mean that a one-stop strategy may not be the best way to achieve the maximum result.”
Symonds is confident the Sochi track characteristics will suit the Williams FW38, with Bottas scoring the final step on the podium in the maiden Russian Grand Prix while last year the Finnish driver collided with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the last-lap battle for third place.
Indeed, Symonds sees Sochi has an ideal opportunity to make up for lost ground after a tricky start to 2016, having lost further ground to Red Bull in the F1 world constructors' championship in China.
“This is a circuit where we have been competitive in the past, and whilst the first three races have not yielded as many points as we would have liked, we hope Russia will see an improved result for us,” Symonds added.