Williams F1 team admits 2014 season hard to improve on

Williams faces a more difficult challenge in improving on its stellar 2014 campaign than it had in moving clear of the Formula 1 tailenders, reckons chief technical officer Pat Symonds

Williams F1 team admits 2014 season hard to improve on

The Grove-based outfit resurrected its fortunes last year when it finished third overall in the constructors' championship, just a season after it ended up ninth.

But as the team eyes a return to winning ways this year, Symonds says his outfit is under no illusions about how tough it will be to make progress, especially considering the bigger budgets that many of its rivals have.

"We have set the bar high," said Symonds, speaking on the main stage at the AUTOSPORT International Show.

"We are not a team that is in financial troubles by any means, but we are not a team that has the budget available that our competitors have.

"It is one of the things that gives me great pleasure in beating Ferrari last year, it is not the fact that I am a competitive person, but that we beat them on half their budgets!

"But moving on from third onwards is probably more difficult than it was moving from ninth to third.

"We can see that a lot of our rivals have either new power units or new people in place, so we have to exploit our advantage of the continuity we have got. We have got to push on."

SUCCESS MORE THAN ENGINE

Although Williams' success in 2014 owed much to it switch to Mercedes power, Symonds is eager to point out that the progress it made was down to far more than just the engine.

"It wasn't just the power unit," he said. "In 2013 we had the same power unit as the guys who won the championship and finished ninth.

"A lot of new things came in [for 2014]. The power unit was obviously the most significant - but things like brake-by-wire, the new aero regulations, they were far more significant than a lot of people realised.

"I think we got on top of all of those. Our brake-by-wire system was absolutely trouble-free. Our drivers didn't even know it was there. That was the quality of the engineering that we were able to bring to 2014."

He added: "There never is a single magic bullet. It really is getting everything working together and that is not just in a technical sense, it is in an operational sense.

"As a race team we improved immeasurably over the winter and during the course of the year. As illustrated by simple things like pitstops. In 2013, a Williams pitstop was really a worry!

"During 2014 several times we set the fastest stop of the weekend - they were regularly good and showed how team developed, and by the end of the season we were racing at the front."

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