Williams: New nose in Bahrain?

Stefan Baldauf
Williams with Mercedes tactics
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W o was Williams in the first week of testing in Barcelona? Valtteri Bottas landed in the final table of the lap times in 14th place with 1.25.648 minutes. Felipe Massa couldn't get past 21st place. For this, the two Williams drivers reeled 1,755 kilometers. And they were limited to the tire compounds hard, medium and soft.

Operations manager Rob Smedley did not allow himself to be disturbed by the competition's chasing times. 'We want to collect data here in the first week, do long runs and ensure reliability.' Technical chief Pat Symonds confirmed that the shortened test plan has also changed the test program. It was reminiscent of what the Mercedes factory team demonstrated. Best times were not on the plan.

Williams too fast on the straight

Williams has been stingy with technical innovations so far. The most striking feature is a bracket in the area of ​​the rear axle. Mercedes chief designer Aldo Costa immediately found a name for it: 'We have to look at this wing of the bridge. It looks interesting.' The new rear axle works as hoped. Bottas and Massa noted with satisfaction that the car's traction had improved. And that was exactly the big weak point of the old FW37.

But where has the new nose gone? She had her crash test appointment last week. When it debuts depends on the result. Williams had doubts that it would still be used in test drives. Or maybe even only coming to the second race in Bahrain. Because not only is the nose new, but also everything that is behind and under it. So front wing, baffles and brake ventilation. The nose should be significantly shorter, but its shape is reminiscent of the current one.

Massa was satisfied with the endurance runs. 'We were pretty consistent on the road. But one lap didn't work out that well. We didn't find the right setup. The tires just didn't want to get up to temperature quickly enough.' According to Massa, the car generates noticeably more downforce, but still not enough. 'We're still too fast on the straight.' With 338.5 km /h Williams landed in the top speed list in second place behind Mercedes.

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