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F1 NEWS 

Struggling Williams hints at changes

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, with a puncture at Sepang 2011Williams chairman Adam Parr says the team will investigate every aspect of its operation to see how it could be strengthened in the wake of its disappointing start to 2011.

The Grove squad had looked like a dark horse for top results in pre-season testing, but neither Rubens Barrichello nor Pastor Maldonado managed to reach Q3 or finish the races in Australia or Malaysia.

Barrichello showed promising form as he came through the field in Melbourne after an early error, only to then collide with Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, while at Sepang neither car was close to the frontrunning pace.

Parr said Williams's poor form had come as a shock.

"Like everyone at Williams, I am both surprised and frustrated with our start," he admitted. "In spite of having an ambitious concept for the FW33, the benefit of continuity with our engine, and moving into our second season with Rubens, we have come up short.

"It is particularly bad in view of our relative strength in pre-season testing and the exceptional amount of work that everyone across Williams has put into this car."

He said that while Williams would refrain from making knee-jerk changes, it had to take action to both turn things around in the short term and ensure this poor start was not repeated in 2012.

"First, we have to understand where we are strong and where we are weak," said Parr. "We have had some notable areas of success with the FW33 and we can build on these.

"We also have some promising improvements coming through for Shanghai and Istanbul and we need to see how these perform.

"We also need to get on top of the reliability issues because these not only affect immediate performance, they also absorb resources that should be focused on improvement.

"We will move forward, but that does not alter the fact that we have started too far behind.

"Therefore, we will be looking not only at how to address the short-term issues - we will be working together to strengthen the team for 2012 and beyond. Every aspect will be reviewed, nothing is sacred, but we will do this methodically and not in a reactive way."

The team's technical director Sam Michael added that his department would do everything it could to try and get Williams in better shape in time for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

"Our performance was well below expectations in many areas in Sepang," he acknowledged. "This is not acceptable for us and we'll be thoroughly reviewing all aspects of our lack of performance before Shanghai.

"Ultimately the performance and reliability of the car is down to the engineering group and we'll respond accordingly."

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