Key F1 2024 signing reveals plans to drag new team into 21st Century

Oliver Harden
George Russell, Mercedes

Mercedes driver George Russell leads the F1 field at the start of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.

Pat Fry has unveiled his plans to bring Williams kicking and screaming into the 21st Century having identified areas of the team which are 20 years out of date.

Williams enjoyed their best season in years in 2023, finishing seventh in the Constructors’ Championship for the first time since 2017 having registered eight points finishes across the season.

Alex Albon scored all but one of the team’s 27 points, with Logan Sargeant getting off the mark at his home race in October.

Pat Fry to help consolidate Williams progress in F1 2024?

Williams’ revival came despite the team being without a technical boss for the first half the season, with the appointment of Fry only confirmed at the Belgian Grand Prix in late July.

Fry is among the most highly regarded technical figures in the paddock, having produced race-winning cars for the likes of Benetton, McLaren and Ferrari over almost four decades in F1.

The 59-year-old, who arrived after a three-year spell at Alpine, believes a huge amount of work is to be done to bring Williams up to modern standards having fallen behind the opposition over recent years. recommends

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Appearing on the F1 Nation podcast, he said: “You certainly have a lot of catching up to do.

“Some bits of the company are, if anything, better than where I’ve come from. There’s other bits that you could say are 15-20 years out of date.

“We certainly have got a lot of work to do. It’s not just the machinery or the tools, as such: it’s also the methodologies we use to actually design a car.

“So we need to be thinking about all those and trying to move into the 21st Century of actually designing things.”

Fry’s comments come after he told select media including at the 2023 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix how Williams lack the agility of reigning Constructors’ Champions Red Bull in terms of infrastructure and car development.

He explained: “To some degree, we need to be looking at trying to shorten lead times so the development area under the curve gets longer.

“You have Red Bull that can issue a floor on Christmas Day – or whenever the winter break starts – and they can still get it to the first [pre-season] test.

“We’re not quite there yet. There are advantages for the bigger teams at both ends. But we need to try and attack all of that and that’s certainly a big part of what we need to achieve working on that back in Grove.

“They’ve got a lot more infrastructure and they’ve got a lot more people they can apply to it.

“As well as just making a car, we need to be spending to improve our infrastructure, improve our simulation tools and modelling tools.

“Our aerodynamics department is pretty good. But I need to give them better tools as well so they can make better decisions.”

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