Williams Troubled by New Car's Aerodynamics

World Championship challengers Williams are racing to fix aerodynamics problems with their new car less than two weeks before the start of the new Formula One season.

Williams Troubled by New Car's Aerodynamics

World Championship challengers Williams are racing to fix aerodynamics problems with their new car less than two weeks before the start of the new Formula One season.

Technical director Patrick Head told reporters at the team's factory near Oxford today that the FW25 was currently slower than expected.

"I am of the view that our car isn't performing well enough," he said. "It's not going as well as we want it to and we recognise a few handling problems which we don't want to be there. We can measure a few aerodynamic characteristics which we think are driving these problems."

Williams finished overall runners-up in 2002 after taking just one win in a season dominated by Ferrari, who won 15 of the 17 races. They, and Formula One's rulers who have changed the regulations to try and make the Championship closer, had hoped the more adventurous new car would close the gap and take on Ferrari from the first race in Melbourne on March 9.

The car has a shorter wheel-base and Williams also say it is smaller and lighter. World Champion Michael Schumacher, however, was lapping in the new Ferrari F2003-GA more than three seconds quicker than Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya in the Williams at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain on Tuesday.

Step Forward

Third-placed McLaren and wealthy Toyota also appear to have made big advances from last season.

"I think we've got some work to do but I'm very confident that the car is a good step forward for us," said Head.

He could not say how long it might take to fix the problems because data was still being gathered.

"We are still in the process of exactly understanding the reasons and it could be as simple as a guide vane deflecting under load which we might fix overnight. Or it could be much more complex. I don't think we're in any sort of trouble like Jaguar at the beginning of last year but we're not where we want to be and we're working hard on it."

Rivals Jaguar had to redesign their front wing before the start of last season after early testing showed a major flaw in the aerodynamic package. Principal Frank Williams said the BMW-powered team had been set back by a development part that had not worked and agreed with German driver Ralf Schumacher's assessment that they were unlikely to win early in the season.

He said that Williams still had a chance of taking the Championship however, particularly with the new qualifying format shaking up the starting grids. Williams acknowledged that BMW, whose engine is generally considered a match for Ferrari's on power, were not very happy with the situation.

"But they recognise, especially (motorsport director) Gerhard (Berger), that what you see in testing is not necessarily what you see in racing," he said.

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