Development freeze to blame for Williams drop in form at end of season

By Adam Tate, Managing Editor

An examination of the 2015 Formula One season clearly shows a noticeable dip in the performance of the Williams cars in the latter half of the season.

According to Performance Chief Rob Smedley this is because the team stopped development of the FW37 early once they realized they would secure third place in the Constructors’ standings but couldn’t reach Ferrari for second.

“We stopped development on this car quite a long time ago having projected we would have a comfortable third position in the championship and second wasn’t going to be possible. So naturally what we’re seeing is due to the fact we haven’t developed the car in such a long time. The end of the season has been slightly lacklustre compared to last year…This year, having consolidated third, our focus switched to 2016 and 2017.”

Last year in Abu Dhabi, Felipe Massa seriously threatened Lewis Hamilton for victory. This year he finished a frustrating eighth while Valtteri Bottas had a disastrous race and came in a lackluster 14th.

Smedley conceded that it was not Williams best day and though the early start on the 2016 car and 2017 design will hopefully help them fight for future wins, he described the Abu Dhabi race as a wake up call.

“Of course that was not the way we wanted to finish the season. But in the end this could be good, it was a proper wake-up call that we really need to raise our game if we want to challenge for the wins next year. We all know the facts, we need to find big gains with the car during the winter, and there are operational things we need to do better.”

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Associate Editor of Motorsports Tribune and jack of all trades, Adam is our resident Formula 1 expert. He has covered F1, IndyCar, WEC, IMSA, NASCAR, PWC and more. His work has been featured on multiple outlets including AutoWeek and A MT Co-founder, Adam has been with us since the beginning when he and Joey created Tribute Racing back in 2012. When not at the track or writing about cars, Adam can be found enjoying the Oregon back roads in his GTI.

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