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Amid 2017 F1 struggles, Williams admits it ‘can’t have another year like this’

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Williams is currently undertaking a complete analysis of where the weaknesses in its Formula 1 operation lie, with deputy team boss Claire Williams saying: “We can’t have another year like this.”

Williams recovered from a difficult spell in F1 to finish third in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015, only to slip back to fifth last year behind Ferrari and Force India.

Force India has emerged as the leading midfield team once again in F1 this year, scoring over double the points of Williams through the opening 13 races of the season, despite Lance Stroll hitting the podium in Baku.

Williams’ chief concern in the standings instead lies behind as Toro Rosso, Haas and Renault all threaten to shuffle the British team further down the table between now and the end of the season.

A number of internal changes have taken place at Williams in recent months, with the biggest addition being that of ex-Mercedes and McLaren technical chief Paddy Lowe at the beginning of the year.

Claire Williams explained how Lowe is working hard to identify where the issues within the team lie, knowing that a repeat of its 2017 struggles cannot be tolerated.

“As you would expect, someone of Paddy’s caliber has a plan and ever since he joined us back in March this year he’s been undertaking a full analysis of the team back at the factory, but also the race team operations on the ground trackside in order to understand where the weaknesses lie,” Williams said.

“We’ve gone through that as a board and now we’re looking at how we allocate resources moving forward into 2018 so that we can address those weaknesses.

“I think a lot of our weaknesses appeared at the midpoint in last year’s season and we can’t go into another season having the same issues that we’ve had so we have full trust in Paddy.

“But also we’ve brought in a number of other senior personnel to work alongside, so Dirk de Beer heads our aerodynamic department now as well, comes from Ferrari this year to us, and some other senior engineers who are hopefully going to turn things around for us.

“But as I said, we can’t have another year like this.”

Rinus VeeKay to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020

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Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.

VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.

“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”

In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.

VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.

“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”

As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.

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