Williams Formula 1 improvement rate now "really strong" - Russell

George Russell says the foundation work for Williams' attempt to recover Formula 1 performance took longer than expected to build, but reckons its car improvement rate is now "really strong"

Williams Formula 1 improvement rate now "really strong" - Russell

Williams' 2019 season got off to a bad start when its FW42 missed the start of pre-season testing, and it quickly became clear the car was uncompetitive and well off the back of F1's midfield battle when the season started proper.

Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe left the team, which went on to score just one point in 2019, and finished last in the constructors' championship for the second year in a row.

Williams has been working to improve its car development processes for the future and Russell says that rebuilding process went slower than originally predicted.

"The team took a big reset with an aero philosophy and we had to take that hit in performance to rebuild those foundations, so starting the season we were not surprised [with] the position we were in," said Russell.

"We did hope to improve at a greater rate than we did, but those foundations took longer to put in place than we all anticipated.

"[But] now, the rate of improvement we are on is really strong.

"We can really see that in the windtunnel tracker of the downforce we had at the start of the year, to what we have in the car now, to what we believe we will be starting next year.

"The only thing we don't know is how much everybody else will improve.

"I can tell you now that if everybody else doesn't improve at all, we'll be well and truly in that fight."

Although the rebuilding process may have taken longer than expected, Russell reckons the improvements the team made to the FW42 were "definitely there" and had it started the 2019 season with the car in its developed state it would have been able to get involved with the battle for points on a regular basis.

"Everybody has improved but we believe we should be improving at a much greater rate into next year than we improved over this year," he said.

"That's a big reason to be positive.

"If we [had] started [2019] with this car, we would have been fighting well and truly at the start of the year because we've put a decent amount of lap time on the car.

"But everyone else [improved as well, so] on the eye it does not look like we made that much progress, whereas we've [actually] made the same amount as everyone else has done.

Regarding Williams' targets for 2020 - when Formula 2 runner-up Nicholas Latifi joins the team - and the new rules era in '21, Russell explained "we want to see progress".

He continued: "I want to see progress in myself, and I want to see progress in the car.

"I do believe that next year we will be stronger. Going to 2021, which will have all of those foundations built again, and it should definitely be well and truly on its way."

shares
comments
F1 risks being slower than F2 with 2021 rules, says Racing Point
Previous article

F1 risks being slower than F2 with 2021 rules, says Racing Point

Next article

How Mercedes' 'second car' fooled rivals in 2019

How Mercedes' 'second car' fooled rivals in 2019
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021