Chief Technical Officer at Williams-Martini Racing, Paddy Lowe, believes the British marque’s chassis for the 2018 Formula 1 season will be a “significant step” forward from previous years.
Speaking to Motorsport.com on Friday, Lowe said that the Williams team “set targets internally,” and this year, those targets have been “stretched.”
Lowe admitted that the team is “optimistic about what we can do, but we are also realistic.”
Since the introduction of V6 hybrid power units in 2014, Williams have not won a single Formula 1 race.
In the last three Formula 1 seasons, the Martini-sponsored team have been a strong contender in the midfield pack.
But, aside from a strong year in 2014, they’ve failed to make a true impression against the manufacturer teams of Mercedes and Ferrari.
The 2017 season saw them finish 5th in the Constructors World Championship.
Lowe’s remark of a “significant step” is likely suggesting that Williams may be able to compete for podiums and potential wins in 2018, considering they’re already a strong pillar of the midfield.
The performance increase is rather plausible, due to the budget boost Williams will be given in 2018 from sponsors of their newest driver, Russia’s Sergey Sirotkin.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed how much money Sirotkin will bring to the team, The Motorsport Network has confirmed that SMP Racing, a Russian racing outfit, are investing money in the development of the 2018 Williams chassis.
“Yes, we’re investing money, but we’re investing it in technology, in the new car, that we’ll see in February and going forward,” Lowe stated.
SMP Racing’s CEO, Dmitry Samorukov, confirmed to Motorsport.com that they are investing in the 2018 car.
“[W]e know that the financial cooperation with Williams will go towards improving the car,” he said on Friday.
“Whatever the money is, it will go towards making the car more competitive.”
Williams are expected to reveal their 2018 challenger, the FW41, on 15th of February.