Williams design for rule, not exception

To Formula 1 anoraks, this news isn’t anything new but if you are a newer fan of the sport, then this concept will help understand how some teams approach their chassis design and why they do well on some circuits and not others.

We’ve (both Paul and I) on this issue several times in our race review podcasts. A team doesn’t bet all its design chips on a short circuit. Some cars do better on slower speed tracks than others and that’s just the nature of their chassis and aerodynamic design. Red Bull tend to be very good on slow and medium speed tracks but when sheer horsepower and shove in the back of the car is in demand, they are not as quick.

Williams is a team that tends to focus on the high speed circuits as team performance guru Rob Smedley says:

“We always correlate well with the higher the speed of the circuit, the higher the average speed,” said Smedley.

“That always plays into where we have developed this car and where we will continue to develop it.

“We think it gives us more benefit than developing down to efficiency levels of Monaco and Singapore, places like that.

“You have to accept when you come to places like Monaco, they are not going to be the prettiest places for Williams.

“But when we go to Canada, Silverstone, Austria, places like that, obviously we would hope to benefit to get nearer to the Ferraris and Red Bulls and take the challenge to them.”

Then there are teams who seem to do well at just about every circuit like Mercedes. They indeed do well but they do have their weaknesses too. Mercedes were challenged at Monaco and it will be interesting to see if they face the same issue at Singapore too.

As a team, you’re designing for the rule, not the exception and Williams is doing just that. It used to be that Force India were definitely a high speed chassis but in recent years, they’ve become more competitive and medium speed and even slow speed tracks.

It’s an interesting thing to look for each race weekend and for newer fans who may be unclear as to why some do better than others at different track, this is one part of that equation—a large part of it in fact.