James Vowles defends Williams’ floor but admits team ‘lacking detail’

Sam Cooper
James Vowles, Williams team principal. Bahrain March 2023.

Williams team principal James Vowles stands on the grid ahead of the race. Bahrain March 2023.

James Vowles has defended Williams’ simplistic looking floor design and suggested the photo was taken from a bad angle.

Williams’ floor became a subject of ridicule during the Spanish Grand Prix when Logan Sargeant’s crash and subsequent recovery showed the simplistic nature of the underbelly in comparison to other teams on the grid.

In the previous weekend’s race, both Red Bull and Mercedes’ floors were shown to the world and appeared to be far more intricate than that of the FW45, causing many to wonder how far behind WIlliams are.

Vowles, who moved across from Mercedes to join Williams during the winter break, suggested the image was taken from a bad angle but did admit the car was lacking “detail” in comparison to its rivals.

“There were photos taken of our floor this weekend after Logan went off in FP3 and obviously those have been compared to photography taken of our competitors just a few weeks ago,” the team principal said.

“I think one thing to point out is that it is a little bit deceptive. What happened here is it’s very focused on that rear diffuser ramp unlike the other photos that perhaps focus more on to the floor and the mid floor where you can actually, within the regulations, add more detail.

“All that said and done though, we are clearly lacking detail relative to our competitors but you wouldn’t have needed the underside of the floor to know that, you can see that from lap times.

“That’s fundamentally a feature of balanced characteristics and how the cars performance and downforce as well at the same time and a lot of that is being generated by the floor.”

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Vowles also noted that Williams’ sixth pointless race of the season came as no real surprise, given the characteristics of the Barcelona circuit.

“Barcelona is a more normal circuit compared to perhaps the start of the season where we’ve seen a lot of street tracks,” the 43-year-old said. “It’s also a very high downforce circuit with a different aerodynamic efficiency to what we’ve needed for the first five or six rounds of this season.

“Typically teams will have three major rear wing levels of downforce, sort of large, medium, small if you’d like and it’s very much in the category of large. This really is in the category of high downforce and it doesn’t suit the characteristics of our car.”