Williams’ deputy principal Claire Williams says the team has passed their crash tests with the 2020 car, most of them at the first attempt.
This marks a positive step already from last year where the team failed early crash tests and showed up late for pre-season testing.
The team would never recover as they spent 2019 trailing at the back, but Claire Williams doesn’t expect any repeats, and she believes the smooth dispatching of the crash tests proves they are on the right path.
Speaking in Tel Aviv, where the team unveiled Roy Nissany as their new test driver, Claire Williams said: “We set ourselves some really tough targets over the winter, around aero in particular, about finding performance, and then on some mechanical issues as well.
“And these have been going well. Obviously the key target now is getting the car to that test on time – and at the lights when they go green, if not before. And I have absolute confidence that that will happen.
“We’ve built ourselves a huge amount of contingency time to ensure that if something does go wrong, we’re okay and we’ve got some cover there.
“One of the first signs of success for us is that we passed all our crash tests, and most of which we did at the first attempt rather than like last year where we failed many of them: even at the sixth attempt.
“That [failing] obviously puts even more pressure into the system because then you’re having to deal with a crash test rather than worrying about getting the car out. So that’s been a good milestone for us over the winter.”
George Russell hopes that Williams can get involved in the fight for points this year, but Claire Williams didn’t want to predict where their pace will be before the FW43 has made it out onto the track.
“Everyone knows how much work we put in behind the scenes and it’s still for me a point of frustration that we are not able to invite everyone in and show everyone the transformation that is taking place to Williams,” she explained.
“But what I’ve always said is it is going to be a journey. We started it last year and we started seeing the grass shoots, if you like, in the latter half of the year when we were closing the gap steadily but there’s only so much you can do in the course of a season anyway.
“Looking into the season, knowing what we’ve managed to achieve over the winter and the car that we’re going to be bringing, clearly that is all based on aero numbers and correlation. But it’s never 100% in F1 to the track, so we’re going to have to wait and see until we get to February testing where we are.
“But we’ve got to make progress. I believe that we will, but to the level of which we can’t define yet, because we don’t know what our competitors are doing.”