Claire Williams has heralded the upcoming Formula 1 season as a chance for a fresh start following its painful 2019 campaign and she remains confident Williams has learnt from its previous mistakes.

Williams endured a nightmare start to last season when it missed the first two-and-a-half days of pre-season testing due to delays in completing its F1 car, the FW42, and once it took to the track it became clear the car was uncompetitive against the rest of the field.

It resulted in the team’s worst F1 season as it scored just a single point, Robert Kubica’s 10th place at the hectic German Grand Prix, and finished bottom of the pile in the F1 world constructors’ championship which triggered a thorough internal investigation into its problems.

Paddy Lowe left the team as technical chief and since then Williams has moved to bolster its engineering ranks by hiring David Worner from Red Bull as chief designer and Jonathan Carter from Renault as his deputy chief designer at the start of this year.

Deputy team principal Williams is optimistic the issues faced in 2019 have been dealt with and while the FW43 retains overall concept characteristics from its predecessor she is confident of seeing the team fight back.

“This year marks a fresh start for the team,” Williams said. “We have spent time addressing our areas of weakness and have ensured that we have the right people, structures, procedures and resource in place to deliver competitive race cars.

“We are all committed to re-building Williams and returning the team to competitiveness. As such, our 2020 campaign is about making progress.

“The fighting spirit is still very much alive, and this year, everyone will continue that fight until we get back to where we want to be.”

“The initiatives that we put in place to drive performance across all disciplines within the engineering department are evident in the design and development of the FW43,” chief engineer, Adam Carter, added. “It’s been great to see the hard work starting to pay off.

“The decision to retain some of the core architecture of the FW42 means there has been less resource invested in developing new concepts, which in turn has rewarded the design team with greater bandwidth to optimise their work, evident in both packaging and component detail.

“By preserving some key parameters, it has allowed for an uninterrupted development programme within Aerodynamics in order to maximise the efficiency of the resources.

“As we head towards the pre-season tests and then onto the race season, the most important measure will be the progress relative to our peers, along with our intention of continuing our recent record of reliability.”

Despite concerns over its 2019 F1 car, Williams has also confirmed there are no significant changes to its design concept with the FW43. With stable regulations for 2020 before the expected shake-up next year, the Grove-based team’s decision is expected to give it larger resources for its 2021 efforts.

“The main concept behind the FW43 is that it is a continuous development of the FW42, with no fundamental concept changes to the layout.” Design director, Doug McKiernan, explained. “The most important indicator that we are on the right path will be the level of correlation we have between the tool kit we use to design the car and what the track data is telling us.

“There has been a healthy development rate in the wind tunnel, and we have found reasonable improvements in the cooling efficiency. The team has addressed the mechanical issues that affected it in 2019, these include the brakes and the overall weight of the car. We have made some good progress across these areas and will continue to focus on them during the season.”

Williams and the rest of the F1 grid begins pre-season testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 19. Kubica has been replaced by Formula 2 runner-up Nicholas Latifi in its 2020 driver line-up alongside George Russell.

 

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