Williams will race conservatively until it consolidates F1 position
|By Edd Straw||Wednesday, July 2nd 2014, 09:24 GMT|
Williams will continue to take a conservative approach to races until it has consolidated its Formula 1 championship position, according to chief technical officer Pat Symonds.
Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished third and fourth in the Austrian Grand Prix after Williams locked out the front row, having adopted a cautious strategy.
Symonds believes Williams must not risk squandering more points if it is to secure its rightful place in the constructors' standings.
"Until we establish ourselves in a position, and we haven't yet because we've bounced between fourth and sixth, we will continue to go racing quite conservatively," Symonds told AUTOSPORT.
"Austria was a classic example. We did not want to go racing Mercedes because I felt there was a real danger of losing out to Ferrari.
"The fact that Fernando Alonso got within a second of us justifies what we did. If we had gone more aggressive and been two further seconds back we would have lost that position.
"So we will continue to do that for a little while."
Williams is currently fifth in the constructors' championship and Symonds believes that climbing to third is possible.
Having overhauled McLaren with its Austria performance, Williams is now only two points behind Force India and 13 points off third-placed Ferrari.
"Nothing would give me more joy than to have another race like Austria soon so we establish a position - I'd love to think it was third," said Symonds.
"And from then on we can go racing more adventurously.
"When it's this close, things can change quickly and the double points at the end of the year can turn it all around, so it's hard to say what your ambitions are.
"But I'm not satisfied with where we are at the moment. I think we've got the third best car and therefore if we don't finish third with it, we won't have done a very good job."
Prior to the Austrian GP, Williams had often showed well but did not score as many points as it should have.
While the team's impressive turnaround after scoring a desultory five points in 2013 has been one of the stories of the season, during the first seven races of 2014 Williams managed to score points with both cars only twice, hence Symonds's desire to secure a strong championship position before taking risks in races.
"Prior to Austria, we were getting a [mode] average 10 points per weekend and felt that we did let opportunities pass us by," he said.
"The position we were establishing on 10 points a weekend wasn't good enough for me.
"When you have a year where one team is dominant, it becomes much more difficult for the teams underneath because first and second is 43 points, so there are 43 points less on the table than they should be.
"We are all fighting for what's left and if someone has a good weekend, it can transform things - Australia gave McLaren a disproportionate amount of points, for example."