Aero stalls caused Williams F1 drivers to spin in British GP qualifying

The high-speed spins suffered by both Williams Formula 1 drivers in British Grand Prix qualifying were caused by a fresh aerodynamic stall the team does not fully understand

Aero stalls caused Williams F1 drivers to spin in British GP qualifying

Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin both lost control of their cars in qualifying at Silverstone, with Stroll's session ending in the Brooklands gravel and Sirotkin losing time spinning at Stowe.

The cause has been traced to a stall at the floor of the FW41 after DRS has been used and then deactivated.

Williams introduced a new rear wing for this race and though the team believes the part itself is working, how it is interacting with the floor after DRS use is causing problems.

The team enacted a recovery programme in a bid to solve the main rear instability problems that have plagued its season so far.

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe admitted this problem has an impact on that development.

"It's a very unwanted...not delay, but it's not quite on the track we intended," he said.

"This rear wing was part of our wider programme to get back where we wanted to be.

"I'm not convinced it's the rear wing itself, it's a matter of how it's functioning together with the floor."

Lowe admitted it had first emerged in FP1 "on one car" but "we diagnosed something else to be the cause of it - that's obviously a mistake".

He apologised to Stroll and Sirotkin in the team's debrief "for not giving them the equipment they needed".

When Lowe addressed the media on Saturday evening after the session he said a decision had not been made on how to proceed.

Williams could continue with the new wing but tell its drivers not to activate DRS, or replace it, if it feels cannot get on top of the problem at the track.

Stroll said suffering from "a bunch of surprise stalls" was not a comfortable experience.

"We've experienced a bit of floor stalling but this was a whole other thing," he said.

"There is stuff that goes with the rear wing, so a lot more to it than just the rear wing.

"It is set-up related, wind related, there is a lot to it.

"We experienced small stalls in FP3 and that is why I had a big gap between my first and second run, I had to wait in the garage for quite a long time, we were investigating it and didn't really understand what happened.

"We assumed a few things, but it was a very small stall.

"This one was triple that amount of stall. We lost something like 60 points of downforce, so 60% of the car's aero."

Sirotkin said he deactivated DRS 50m before the corner and lost one third of his rear downforce.

"If you recalculate it in kilograms it is going to be a surprising number," he said.

"And if you look onboard, it was so quick that I didn't have even time to realise what happened."

shares
comments
Verstappen feels like Red Bull is missing 70-80 horsepower in F1

Previous article

Verstappen feels like Red Bull is missing 70-80 horsepower in F1

Next article

Both Williams to start British GP from pitlane after rear wing changes

Both Williams to start British GP from pitlane after rear wing changes
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Williams
Author Edd Straw
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Plus

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021