Williams technical director Pat Symonds is confident the British team can repeat the step it made heading into 2014 upon the change in Formula 1’s regulations for next season.
After finishing ninth in the constructors’ championship in 2013, Williams bounced back in style the following season, ending the year third after capitalizing on the new technical regulations.
Another overhaul is planned for 2017, offering Williams what Symonds believes to be an opportunity to bridge the gap to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull ahead.
Much of Williams’ advantage lay with its Mercedes power unit, but with Ferrari and Renault cutting the gap to the German marque, the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull have been able to slip ahead.
“It just gets harder [as engines converge]. But on the other hand it is also an opportunity,” Symonds told the official F1 website.
“The 2013 car was aerodynamically very poor. The 2014 car was a major step forward under the new regulations and I have no reason to believe that we can’t do it again.”
Symonds confirmed that the majority of Williams’ efforts are now going into the 2017 car, believing that a small team cannot leave the switch too late.
“The point at which we’ve had more people working on the 2017 car than the 2016 car probably occurred in early June, something like that,” Symonds said.
“I am not sure exactly as we don’t make headcounts on that, but early June is my estimation. We are a small team and we really couldn’t afford to leave things very late.
“Teams like ourselves, Force India or Toro Rosso have to make such a switch early, whereas the Ferraris, the Red Bulls, the Mercedes and McLarens of this world, they have double the headcount that we have and can run parallel much longer.”