However alarm bells had been ringing from the primary check when it emerged that the Grove-based squad was battling a very aero delicate automobile, which meant on windy days drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi might discover themselves struggling.
With a gusty season opener in Bahrain, the difficulties had been uncovered, and it could have been straightforward to suspect on the time that the workforce may very well be dealing with one other marketing campaign of battling on the again.
Nevertheless, the season has changed into one among a lot improved fortune. And never solely has the outfit scored an honest bunch of factors to spice up its constructors’ standings, but it surely even grabbed a podium end within the rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix, albeit in a race that did not really occur.
Having knuckled down underneath the possession of Dorilton Capital, the arrival of key personnel, extra funding and a special strategy has clearly had an affect, with the entire squad given an opportunity to flourish.
Modifications to the distribution of useful resource wealth in F1 can have helped, as within the opening half of the season Williams was at the bottom of the new aero handicap system, permitting it to make the most of 112.5% of the allotted time within the windtunnel and afford it the identical privileges for CFD simulations.
And, while it did not rating its first factors of the yr till the Hungarian Grand Prix, which really vaulted it into eighth place, when the boundaries had been altered on the primary of July, it was categorized forward of solely Haas, decreasing its windtunnel time and CFD utilization to 110% for the again half of 2021.
If it maintains eighth place within the closing phases of 2021, which appears seemingly, the workforce will see an extra discount for the primary half of 2022, when it will likely be given 105% to work with.
This should not be a trigger for concern although, because the coefficient scale in operation between 2022-2025 is extra closely entrance loaded, that means these on the entrance of the grid are pegged again extra so than these on the rear.
For instance, the successful constructor will drop from 90% to 70%, whereas the place at present occupying 100% is fifth and can drop right down to seventh.
Including to this useful resource distribution windfall, Williams has made some enhancements to its on-site windtunnel of late, while additionally taking a renewed strategy to automobile improvement.
Aero remains to be king in F1, and there was a whole lot of progress with the FW43B all through the course of the season on this entrance.
Williams FW43/FW43B brake drum comparability
Picture by: Giorgio Piola
The workforce made a delicate however noteworthy change to its entrance brake duct on the second race of the season in Imola, because it altered the form of the inlet.
This had the knock-on impact of accelerating the obtainable actual property under and resulted within the cluster of small winglets being exchanged for smaller, paired variants.
William FW43B flooring comparability
Williams was not lengthy out of the gate earlier than making the swap to the now almost ubiquitous Z-shaped floor cutout both, with the answer additionally arriving on the second race of the season.
Nevertheless, the aerodynamic appendages utilized in mixture with the cutout remained largely the identical, save the triple fin cluster added on the fulcrum.
The workforce has since changed the three ‘r’ formed vanes positioned halfway alongside the cutout and the marginally curved fin simply forward of the tyre (marked in pink) with a cluster of fins proper on the sting of the ground (marked in inexperienced), when it launched its main replace package deal on the French Grand Prix.
William FW43B flooring fins
One other small change was made on the third race of the season, in Portugal, when the workforce exchanged an answer that had been on the automobile throughout 2020 for one thing much like what Ferrari has been utilizing.
The FW43B had began the season with a row of fins jutting out from the facet of the diffuser however these had been changed by a row of vertical fins. Apparently this aligns neatly with a vertical fin mounted on the rear brake duct winglet cluster, which as we all know are additionally narrower this yr by regulation.
Williams FW43B bargeboard comparability
The aforementioned improve package deal, launched in France, noticed the workforce make a raft of modifications to its bargeboard cluster to assist with the wind sensitivity concern that the drivers talked about within the early a part of the season.
The outwash fins mounted on high the multi aspect footplate had been elevated in quantity, not solely within the stack that had been already in situ (marked in inexperienced), however with a second row being launched simply behind (marked in pink).
In the meantime, drawing affect from McLaren, which has had an analogous resolution since final yr, the workforce added a pair of downwash wings beneath the boomerang wing and created a framework for which the airflow can now function inside (marked in yellow).
The highest of the principle vertical aspect has additionally been adjusted (marked in blue) with the workforce following what has develop into slightly little bit of a development, with the floor damaged up into smaller feather-like sections.
William FW43B diffuser comparability
The replace package deal additionally featured a revised diffuser format too, as the peak of the outermost strake was decreased.
This can be a resolution we have seen a number of groups take this season, suggesting that the brand new rules have altered the course of the airflow sufficiently in that area for the groups to make changes.
Williams FW43B comparability
Williams’ totally different strategy to the usage of its sources meant that the workforce additionally had a Monza particular set-up for the primary time in a lot of years too.
Ordinarily it could match its automobile with a wing seen at different high-speed circuits and easily endure the aerodynamic penalty of doing so.
Nevertheless, this yr it had a a lot decrease downforce rear wing at its disposal, while additionally taking a half crescent formed part out of the entrance wing’s higher flap to assist stability downforce front-to-rear.
2022 and past
2022 will present many fascinating subplots up and down the grid given the scope of regulation change that F1 will undergo.
However, with the introduction of the associated fee cap and sliding scale for sources additionally a significant component, it will likely be fascinating to see if the likes of Williams will probably be drawn nearer to the battle forward.