Williams Adjust Bargeboards To Compensate For Wind Susceptibility

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi (image credit Williams F1 Team)

To combat a wind susceptibility problem it has been experiencing this year, Williams has changed the design of its bargeboards on its FW43B Formula 1 car.

Williams entered the 2021 season looking to continue progress made with the FW43 car in the previous season, while also putting more resources towards the new designs planned for the 2022 season.

According to the team, it is in the final stages of developing its car for the 2021 season, as it battles with Haas to avoid finishing last in the standings.

The FW43B was especially susceptible to the impact of wind at Bahrain, which proved to be a significant weakness for George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.

During last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which was held in Baku, a place nicknamed the ‘City of Winds,’ Williams attempted to mitigate high winds by altering their car’s bargeboards.

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi (image credit Williams F1 Team)
2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi (image credit Williams F1 Team)

Williams Amended Bargeboards To Encounter Better Tests

Dave Robson, Williams’ head of vehicle performance, explained the tunnel-like nature of the Baku street track meant the wind was not as harsh as expected, so the races at Paul Ricard and Silverstone would be a better test.

“I think the sheltering does help, because you end up with more of a Monaco-style tunnelling of the air rather than the big crosswind gusts that you get at Silverstone, for example.

“I guess we’ll find out more at Paul Ricard, where it will likely be windy up there.

“There are some changes on George’s car [in Baku], around the bargeboard area, which is designed to hopefully improve that side of the car.

“But to be honest, we weren’t really able to evaluate how well it was working in that regard on Friday.

“So, I think the big test will be the next three or four events I guess.”

Russell’s power unit was forced to be switched back to a previous specification after the car had a problem in FP3, but the more recent engine should be reusable.

Russell still managed to qualify 15th in Baku, and Robson explained that going back to the older engine did not reduce performance significantly.

“I don’t have any numbers, it’s actually very small.

“You’re allowed to do so little with the power units, it’s essentially just a new version of the same thing, more or less.

“The degradation on these power units is impressively small these days. It’s not like the old days where there was clear degradation.

“It would have cost him a little bit, just by virtue of being a bit older. But actually, not too much to be honest – not enough to have made any places, that’s for sure,” said Robson.

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