Formula 1 Racing

Improving Williams F1 team ‘like fixing a bicycle puncture while riding it’

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, Williams Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

The Grove outfit is undergoing updates to its factory infrastructure and changes to its working processes as owner Dorilton Capital tries to move it up the grid.

Team principal James Vowles and chief technical officer Pat Fry have both made it clear that the team lags behind rivals, citing how late everything came together with the build of the FW46.

The lack of a spare chassis that led to Logan Sargeant’s non-start at the Australian GP was a clear public sign of how the team needs to improve.

Robson admits that changing the team while also running a racing programme is a huge challenge.

“Still a huge amount going on,” he said. “It’s a bit like trying to fix a puncture on your bicycle whilst riding it at the same time.

“It’s so hard just to take some time out of the programme and give everyone a chance to adopt new ways of working.

“So it’s not easy, but it’s ongoing. There’s lots to do. That’s clear. There’s a lot been done. It’s just generally improving the tools, improving the software.

“And then getting everyone to understand what that allows us to do and how you sort of maximise those tools to push the whole programme through.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, Williams Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Asked by Autosport about the acknowledgement of the team’s failings made by Vowles and Fry, Robson admitted they were right.

However, he suggested that other teams may also have issues that are less obvious.

“I think we’ve known for a long time that the way we do it, or have done it, isn’t always terribly efficient,” he said. “But it does require or does rely on quite a lot of human glue to bring it all together.

“It will be fascinating to know where the other teams are. I’m sure that the very best teams are quite different to how we do it. I don’t know whether everyone is.

“To a certain extent, as you entertain the question, I think, the big difference is Pat’s and James’s honesty about the whole thing, perhaps more than the actual problems themselves.

“That said, the problems are there, and they need fixing, and we were doing that. We’ve known it for a long time. But it’s always very difficult to invest in those processes when you’re struggling to invest in the car.

“Obviously, that’s quite a few years ago now. So now we know we’ve got the resources to do it. And with James and Pat we know what state of the art looks…

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