Williams engineers wanted to strip entire car of all paint

Date published: May 4 2022 - Michelle Foster

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, follows Alex Albon. Australia, April 2022.

Dave Robson and his team of Williams engineers did ask if they could strip the paint from the car entirely to save weight, but alas they were denied.

The weight of the F1 cars is proving to be a big issue this season.

While the minimum weight was increased under the new technical regulations, Alfa Romeo was the only team able to reach it. The other nine, it has been reported, are all overweight and some as much as double figures.

While Williams have not revealed their 2022 weight gains, the team is doing all it can to lose a bit even if it is just a few grams.

That has been done in part by stripping paint from the nose, engine cover and sidepods.

Robson, the team’s head of vehicle performance, even went as to far as to enquire as to whether the car could be stripped back to its carbon fibre in its entirety.

“Of course. Absolutely,” he told Motorsport.com when asked if he had proposed it.

Alas though it could not be done as Williams need branding on their car, both their own and their sponsors.

“It’s just the thing that engineering meets marketing, isn’t it?” he said. “We all want the car to look stunning, which is part of the sport.

“And it’s not just about the livery on the car; it sets the tone for the whole brand which is clearly really important.

“For sure it’s a compromise. The car needs to have some visible personality about it. But at the same time, it’s in the sponsors’ interests to make it as quick as possible.”

Several teams arrived at the Imola circuit for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with carbon fibre showing, including the likes of Mercedes and McLaren.

The teams are trying just about everything to lower the weight of the cars even though the FIA did agree to increase the minimum from 795kg to 798kg after the first pre-season test.

And given the sport’s budget cap, it is making it difficult for teams to throw money at the problem.

“I think we’ve known for quite a while that achieving the (minimum) weight limit was going to be incredibly tough,” said Robson.

“Plus, with the added complexity of the cost cap, particularly for the bigger teams, then how do you achieve it?

“To some extent it’s a slightly arbitrary number because if the FIA set the weight limit at 500kg you’d never be able to achieve it, so it depends what we as a sport view the purpose of that number to be.

 

“If it’s the vast majority of teams, or all but one, where we’re at now, then you would say for the sport you’re better off increasing that number.

“But I can absolutely understand that, if there is one team out there that doesn’t need it increasing, then of course they wouldn’t agree to that.”