Williams head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, is confident that the team have managed to find an optimal window for their 2022 car, but would like to uncover a definitive solution to “porpoising.”
Williams’ adaptation to the new technical regulations has been difficult thus far in 2022.
A combination of accidents for Nicholas Latifi and a car that has struggled to compete with midfield runners in the corners meant that the Grove-based team failed to score points in each of the opening two races of the season.
They also failed to make it out of the first qualifying phase in Australia but, despite a disqualification for a fuel infringement sending him to last on the grid, Alex Albon pulled off a remarkable 57-lap stint on Hards before pitting onto Softs for the final lap, securing their first point of the year in tenth.
A key reason for this would appear to lie in the fact that they have found ways to counteract a great deal of the straight-line speed proclivities caused by the “porpoising” that emerges from the ground effect aerodynamics.
Robson divulges that they have developed a better equilibrium in Australia that they had experienced in the first two rounds of the season, but maintains that there is work to be done to ensure that the bouncing they do still have does not cause damage to the car.
“We’ve made some progress there and I think we are starting to get pretty good at chassis height, set-up and ‘porpoising’ so we have the car in the right window,” he told Motorsport-Total.com.
“But if we don’t get it ideal, we risk damage to the underbody. So that’s probably our limit.
“Other than that, all we need is a bit more downforce to get the tyres up to temperature properly and generally make us faster. But a lot of what you knew is no longer relevant this year and you have to rethink.”
Williams are reported to be running at around 803kg, five over the limit set by the FIA due to the naturally heavier cars, and they have followed the likes of Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin in scraping paint off the car in order to shed some of the excess weight.
A full paint job on the cars weighs around six kilograms, so removing paint from the cockpit as they have done could prove key.
“Of course, you always aim to make the car even lighter and the colour design does its part to reduce the weight of the vehicle,” Robson added.
“It’s a very big task to get these cars under the minimum weight. We will continue to work on that as well, even though we have no idea where we stand in terms of overweight in comparison. It’s hard to say.”
Albon agrees that he would like to cultivate a better balance in the corners and, given the longer wheelbases Mercedes-powered cars tend to run, this will be a slight complexity for them to work out, but the Thai-Brit does not see it as such a big issue.
“With that, we want to improve the balance but we are not talking about a fundamental problem here. We just have to see it gets better,” he explained.
Albon’s P10 in Melbourne now leaves Aston Martin as the only team yet to score points thus far in 2022.