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Williams make stunning admission behind five-year suffering

Williams team principal James Vowles has set a target over the next six races he hopes will eradicate a five-year trend.

Albon Miami
To news overview © XPBimages

Williams team principal James Vowles has made a remarkable admission he claims has played an integral part in the team's failings in recent years.

Part of Vowles' deep dive into why Williams has fallen so far behind its rivals involved taking a look at past cars and discovering the team has produced machinery "that have not been at the weight limit every year since 2019", that have instead "been far above it".

Teams often play their cards close to their chest when it comes to the exact weight of their cars, yet Vowles felt it incumbent upon himsself to explain why Williams has "suffered this year", choosing to be "very open and transparent", comments he said "you won't get from near enough most teams on the grid".

Coming into this season, Vowles has revealed his engineers trimmed a staggering 14 kilograms of weight off the chassis alone, describing it as "an extraordinary feat", yet still the car is "about four and a half tenths a lap slower, every lap, by the fact it is so overweight".

Explaining why that is the case, he said: "What happens when you challenge a system and a technology is that you can get an output from it, and the output is that things get delayed and weight gets added as one of the fixes in order to get you back on track, and we added an enormous amount of weight despite the chassis being in a much better place."

British GP set as the target

Going back through the team's recent history in terms of how it operates its facilities, systems, processes and structures, he found that "weight became a natural outlet, and as a result of that, we've been overweight many, many years."

He added: "But as you change technologies - so '22 was a very large year, and this year was a very large year - what we gave Alex is a car that is much better balanced, a much better package.

"If you now go back and look at your timing sheets [from the first six grands prix] and take four and a half tenths off [per lap], you have a realisation as to why Alex [Albon] is frustrated."

Vowles has confirmed that for this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, the team has started shedding the weight.

"That will now continue across the next six races, fundamentally, in order to get us back to where we need to be," he said.

"We've taken a few kilos off since the very beginning of the season already, so it's not the first step we've done. But here, fundametally, is just a very large step."

Vowles is confident that by that sixth race - the team's home race of the British Grand Prix - the team will be close to the limit, and the majority of the four-and-a-half tenths will have been clawed back.

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