Williams sure customer Mercedes status won't hinder 2014 F1 season

Williams is confident that being a customer team to a manufacturer with its own factory Formula 1 squad will not hinder its 2014 season

Williams sure customer Mercedes status won't hinder 2014 F1 season

The Grove-based outfit switched from Renault to Mercedes F1 engines for 2014, when sweeping regulation changes will exaggerate the importance of the new V6 turbocharged power units.

But while Mercedes will have to balance priorities as a works team and an engine supplier, Williams chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson said he is not worried his squad will be hurt by its customer status.

In particular, he said the fact teams are still far from on top of the new rules will make for a mutually beneficial relationship, pushing conflict of interest concerns onto the periphery.

Button in Mercedes co-operation call

"We're very happy with the relationship we have with Mercedes," Nelson told AUTOSPORT.

"They want us to do well - the more miles we do, the happier they'll be so they're clearly helping us to fulfil our objectives.

"Historically [as a] customer team, the engine guys are one side of the office or the garage, the chassis guys are the other side and you tend to have fairly disparate contact with them.

Massa: Williams has got its confidence back

"But nowadays you spend most of your time talking to your engine engineer or the control engineer or the engine performance engineer, or the KERS technician.

"We are still working out how it is going to work, but I don't think it is entirely obvious [being a customer team] will [hurt Williams]."

STAGGERING COMPLEXITY

Nelson said that the complexity of integrating a host of new systems - including the turbo, energy recovery and braking by wire technology - has forced teams to rethink their traditional models of testing.

"On the technical side, we are learning a lot of things that we did not expect to be learning and some of the stuff that we thought would be really important isn't nearly as important as we expected it to be," he said.

"The main area of development at the moment is the engine recovery, that's the new bit.

"Sometimes you don't even know where the energy is coming from and it juggles around all the time so optimising it is fairly tricky.

"There is a lot of new stuff, and without a doubt there's some stuff we've overlooked that we don't even realise yet."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams , Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
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