Following on from its successful 2014 season, Williams’ Chief Technical Officer, Pat Symonds takes up the story behind the development of this year’s car:
“We went about recognising what had worked well with the FW36 and identifying and resolving the areas that we felt needed to be improved. Although the aerodynamics of the car were impressive there is always room for improvement particularly as we handle the new 2015 nose regulations.
“The first conceptual stage of the FW37 came before the FW36 had turned a wheel. The main element to this is understanding the rule changes and how they will affect the design of the car. From here we can start to see if our ideas will fit within the regulations.
‘The desire to beat Ferrari to third place in the Constructors’ in 2014 meant we pushed our development through to late autumn, but the size of the team is now at a point where it was able to sustain this development whilst still working on the FW37.”
With the regulations relatively stable from 2014 the team went about developing the FW36 with the additional changes necessary to meet the 2015 rules. Adds Symonds:
“We felt we came up against design barriers in the FW36 and so took the opportunity to remove these for the benefit of performance. The FW36 carried a reasonable amount of ballast, so we were able to make alterations to the design for added performance without the fear of adding excessive mass.”
The layout phase of the car was completed by the summer break in August, with work on the new front bulkhead a main priority for the designers and aerodynamicists as the changes to the regulations had their effects on the car.
‘The change in regulations offered us a slight headache. The new front bulkhead and nose geometry had much more of an impact than we had initially anticipated and the effect on the aero was profound. The team has worked hard on pulling back the deficit these regulations have made for us.
“‘The more rule stability there is, the closer the field gets. I hope as a team we are more capable of maintaining the forward momentum to catch Mercedes, than the teams behind us are of catching us. It’s not just about stable regulations but also about the team and every individual that works here moving forward and improving.”