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Williams

Williams looking to ease 'pain' after Spanish 'disaster'

The Spanish GP was "a disaster" for Williams according to team principal James Vowles. Can it turn the tide in Austria and Silverstone?

Albon Sargeant race Spain
Interview
To news overview © XPBimages

James Vowles is confident Williams "should be back fighting for points" in the next two grands prix despite suffering a "disaster" in Spain.

It was a weekend to forget for the Grove-based team at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya as its cars were again shown to be wind-sensitive, a flaw in its character the team has struggled with previously and has clearly failed to overcome.

Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant qualified a dismal 19th and 20th initially. On Sunday, Sargeant started 19th and last, with Albon from the pit lane after a new energy store and control electronics were fitted outside of parc fermé.

The wind, though, played its part throughout the race, culminating in the duo taking the chequered flag 18th and 20th. It was a typically poor performance from Williams in Spain where it has often struggled in the past.

"There's a lot that we've changed in our fundamental concepts, including aero and foundations, so I was expecting not to be as poor," said Vowles, speaking to RacingNews365.

"There were moments this weekend where there were glimmers, and what I mean by that is in FP3 we were running a sensible fuel load and we were top 10. In FP1, top 10, and there was a tyre difference there. Even in Q1 run one, it was okay. We then got it wrong on run two.

"But even if you look at it optimistically, the race was a disaster. The car isn't great here. It's poor. Understanding that is now going to be a much bigger problem.

"It does feel a little bit like the initial assessment of it is wind sensitivity because we can see in certain corners, especially those long in duration, we're struggling, and especially when the wind hits the car from a different angle.

"If that is the case, why has it historically been poor for many years? Which it has been. Williams has never been great in Barcelona.

"So understanding all of that is the agenda I've given to our engineering teams to make sure they understand."

Ordinarily, the Barcelona track is a barometer for teams. The rule of thumb is that if the car performs well at the circuit then it will generally do so at the majority of the other tracks for the rest of the season. If not, there is work to do.

Yet last season, Williams performed strongly at the circuits now next up on the calendar in Austria's Red Bull Ring, and its home event, Silverstone, where Albon finished eighth.

Vowles feels a repeat is on the cards. "That's the general direction we're heading in at the moment," he said.

"I am fairly confident you'll see that in Austria and Silverstone we will be in a good place. The car should work better, we should be back fighting for points.

"That doesn't remove the pain of the weekend [in Spain], but we have a good direction going forward. Furthermore, there are performance items coming, especially more towards Silverstone.

"The fight is enormous in the midfield. We're all bringing bits as quick as we can at the moment, and you can see the difference it's making."

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