Williams' Xevi Pujolar admits there's no quick fix in their struggle to be competitive
Chief engineer says progress will be made step-by-step
By Mike Wise and James Galloway
Last Updated: 28/05/13 2:41pm
Pujolar was speaking at the Monaco Grand Prix, where Valtteri Bottas finished in 12th place while Pastor Maldonado's race ended in the tyre wall after a spectacular collision with Marussia's Max Chilton.
That the Grove team are struggling with the performance of their FW35 is reflected by their failure to score a point so far this season. Twelve months ago, Williams had scored 44 points, including Maldonado's win in Spain.
"I think it will be more step-by-step. Hopefully there will be times when the steps are bigger," Pujolar said. "We won't suddenly go from where we are to the top four."
"I think we're making progress and it's getting better and better. But until we get the car in Q3 and have the car in the points, we cannot say we've done it."
Fundamentally, the latest Williams lacks performance - a situation hindered by wrong development turns, such as their struggle to get a handle on the Coanda exhaust effect.
According to Pujolar, though, their rate of understanding is at least improving.
"We think, especially with the testing we've done here, it's probably the time that we feel that the car is changing the most from everything we've done so far. We need to see if we can consolidate that," he said.
Of their struggles with exhaust flow, Pujolar added: "For sure, other teams are at an advantage in terms of understanding the exhausts and the Coanda effect but I don't think that's our only limitation."
Yet Williams' attempts to improve might be hampered by the tyre changes Pirelli say they will introduce at the next race in Canada.
Assuming F1's tyre supplier does introduce a new construction for safety reasons, Pujolar says the effect on their car's aero performance would be an unknown most likely to hinder rather than help.
He therefore admits that Williams would prefer to maintain the status quo, or even go back to using last year's tyres.
"For us, either stay the same or probably go back to what we had (in 2012)," Pujolar added. "And maybe the situation we're in now, I'd say that to stay the same - that's it, we just need to improve our car.
"If they change to something completely different, then it's another unknown. We're still learning about the car and if you add something new, there's the discussion about the wind tunnel tyres and all that then it's changing again.
"We don't really have a preference but either we stay the same or go back to what we had."