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Improving Williams F1 team 'like fixing a bicycle puncture while riding it' - Robson

Williams Formula 1 head of vehicle performance Dave Robson feels that simultaneously developing the car and team is “like trying to fix a puncture on your bicycle whilst riding it.”

The Grove outfit is undergoing updates to its factory infrastructure and changes to its working processes as owner Dorilton Capital tries to move it up the grid.

Team principal James Vowles and chief technical officer Pat Fry have both made it clear that the team lags behind rivals, citing how late everything came together with the build of the FW46.

The lack of a spare chassis that led to Logan Sargeant’s non-start at the Australian GP was a clear public sign of how the team needs to improve.

Robson admits that changing the team while also running a racing programme is a huge challenge.

“Still a huge amount going on,” he said. “It's a bit like trying to fix a puncture on your bicycle whilst riding it at the same time.

“It's so hard just to take some time out of the programme and give everyone a chance to adopt new ways of working.

“So it's not easy, but it's ongoing. There's lots to do. That's clear. There's a lot been done. It's just generally improving the tools, improving the software.

“And then getting everyone to understand what that allows us to do and how you sort of maximise those tools to push the whole programme through.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, Williams Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, Williams Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Asked by Autosport about the acknowledgement of the team’s failings made by Vowles and Fry, Robson admitted they were right.

However, he suggested that other teams may also have issues that are less obvious.

“I think we've known for a long time that the way we do it, or have done it, isn't always terribly efficient,” he said. “But it does require or does rely on quite a lot of human glue to bring it all together.

“It will be fascinating to know where the other teams are. I'm sure that the very best teams are quite different to how we do it. I don't know whether everyone is.

“To a certain extent, as you entertain the question, I think, the big difference is Pat's and James's honesty about the whole thing, perhaps more than the actual problems themselves.

“That said, the problems are there, and they need fixing, and we were doing that. We've known it for a long time. But it's always very difficult to invest in those processes when you're struggling to invest in the car.

“Obviously, that's quite a few years ago now. So now we know we've got the resources to do it. And with James and Pat we know what state of the art looks like.

“Hopefully we can quite quickly shortcut from where we are to where we need to be.”

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Robson insists that the team has made progress, and that will continue to pay off in terms of on-track performance, even if it may take time for the full results to come to fruition.

“It's massively different to where it was four or five years ago,” he said. “It's massively exciting, and there's no doubt it will appear as performance. We can't control what everyone else does, but we will definitely be in a better place.

“The whole way we develop and run the project is going to get hugely better. At the same time, it's frustrating that we can't just click our fingers and have it all today or yesterday.

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“We've got to carry on doing what we do at the track and make the most of what we've got. And it's great that it will get better.

“There's no doubt that that happens, we just want to see it happen ASAP. We can't do that, so we're just going to have to slog it out for a bit longer.”

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