Williams against wind tunnel use limit
|By Jonathan Noble and Mark Hughes||Friday, February 20th 2009, 12:30 GMT|
Team boss Frank Williams says he is unhappy about cost-cutting moves to restrict wind tunnel use that could leave his team at a disadvantage compared to their rivals.
The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) is currently discussing a proposed framework of aerodynamic development restrictions that will help teams reduce their expenditure on wind tunnels and CFD systems. Once the teams are in unison on the matter, it can then be put to the FIA.
However, reaching a deal that satisfies all teams is not easy - and it is understood that Williams and Toyota are not impressed at a push from their rivals to limit all teams to just one wind tunnel - irrespective of their CFD capabilities.
Early drafts of the aerodynamic limits would have allowed teams to choose to balance their work on either wind tunnels or CFD, depending on their resources.
Speaking about the situation, Williams told autosport.com: "I was happy with that until a few of the other teams said 'oh we've only got one wind tunnel, so you should have too' which I thought was a very strong piece of discrimination.
"We all sort of put our cards on the table recently about our CFD capabilities. We came out joint last with Force India. We've got two very good tunnels. Suddenly for some unbalanced reason it's proposed that we are only allowed to use one."
Williams confirmed that he was not the only one not happy about a proposed ban on teams using more than one wind tunnel. When asked if Toyota adopted his stance, he said: "That's right. And, I would imagine, it's Honda's too. A blind man can see it's discrimination against those with two tunnels.
"What about you've got two of these and I've only got one, so you'll have to run with just one driver? Try that one! You can see where it's coming from. There are some very big investments around and those guys with only one tunnel have said 'yipee you can't have your second."
Williams said he felt the situation showed that competitiveness between teams was now expanding beyond the normal areas of track and finances.
"I'm of the view that the competition should take place on the race track," he said. "It now takes place on the race track and at the bank as well. Then there's a third area where they think they can carve up the rights to which equipment they can use.
Despite his unhappiness at the situation, Williams said he felt a compromise settlement would be reached - even though it would restrict his team to one tunnel.
"Under the Concorde Agreement - and I've presumed that in the last three years that we are racing with a new Concorde Agreement in place, otherwise what binds us together? - that if the technical regulations are changed at short notice it must be by unanimous agreement," he said.
"Well there wasn't unanimous agreement and it still got changed. I think we're getting close to a solution, a solution that is quite acceptable...but I repeat we're unhappy about it."
This week's Autosport carries a full-length interview with Frank Williams, where he talks about the shape of F1, the state of his team and how he can see a bright future amid the current financial uncertainty.