Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA
Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

Overweight Williams F1 car costing it 0.45 seconds per lap

Williams has revealed its too-heavy 2024 Formula 1 car has been giving away 0.45 seconds per lap, as it unleashes a weight-saving programme from this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

The Grove-based outfit is pushing to get itself much closer to F1’s 798kg minimum weight limit, with a host of new lighter parts to be fitted to Alex Albon’s car at Imola.

In a surprise confession before track running begins, team principal James Vowles has said that the squad ironically left itself on the back foot last winter by its chase to reduce chassis weight.

An aggressive development programme, which succeeded in pulling 14kg off its chassis, meant its production and development plans ran late – and contributed to the team having to be conservative with other aspects of the car.

The end result, says Vowles, is that the FW46 in the configuration it has run up until now has been heavier than last year – which he reckons has been costing it nearly half a second per lap.

“The transformation we did between 2023 to ‘24 was that we took 14 kilos out of the chassis,” he said.

“For anyone in the business that knows those numbers, you'll realise that's an extraordinary feat and the team did very well in doing that.

“However, the car this year that we've been running is about four and a half tenths a lap slower, every lap, by the fact it is still overweight.”

Vowles explained that the extra weight was simply a consequence of things having run so close to deadlines over the winter.

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“When things get delayed, weight gets added as one of the fixes to get you back on track,” he said.

“We added an enormous amount of weight, despite the chassis being in a much better place.”

While Vowles would not offer any details of the weight specifics, it is widely recognised in F1 that 10kg of weight is worth 0.3 seconds per lap – which suggests that the Williams is 15kg heavier than it should be.

Vowles said that he had asked Albon, whose multi-year contract extension was announced on Wednesday, to remain silent over the issue up until now, as the focus is on unleashing a development programme to get it sorted.

“If you go back now and look at your timesheets, and take four and a half tenths off, you have a realisation as to why Alex has been sat here frustrated, because I've muted him,” added Vowles.

“I wanted to have the opportunity here to say this is what we did, and this is what we're doing to fix it. What's not of interest to me is what's happened. It's how we move forward from this point onwards.

“So Imola is the start of weight reduction, that will now continue across the next six races fundamentally in order to get us back to where we need to be.”

Vowles said that Williams was not likely to be bang on the weight limit by the end of the six race push, but would be close enough to it to be happy.

Read Also:

Watch: A Defining Race for the Season? - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Preview

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article How Ferrari’s benign car shift has unlocked F1 performance gains
Next article Newey not ready for F1 retirement as he'll “probably go again” at another team

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA