Williams head of performance engineering Rob Smedley says his team needs to react to Ferrari’s latest power unit upgrade and hopes this can be achieved by next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The Grove-based squad enjoyed a strong Monza outing last Sunday, as Felipe Massa repeated its 2014 podium finish with team-mate Valtteri Bottas only three tenths adrift.
However, the Williams duo trailed the lead Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel by more than 22s and would have probably finished behind Kimi Raikkonen if the Finn had not stalled on the grid.
“Apart from Kimi’s start, [Ferrari]’s shown great pace,” said Smedley, who worked as Massa' race engineer at Maranello from 2006 to 2013. “They have done a really good job, they brought a new power unit, which has delivered in qualifying and the race.
“What we need to do is to react to that. We’ve got very healthy updates coming in Singapore.
“We just have to keep bringing what we can bring in all the areas. We can’t stand still and I’m hoping that, with the changes we’re going to make, we’ll be back on par.”
After spending its full 2015 token allocation, Williams’ engine supplier Mercedes had an even bigger engine upgrade than Ferrari last weekend, but the German constructor only had time to develop and deliver new power units to its factory squad.
In the light of Lewis Hamilton’s dominant Italian Grand Prix win, Smedley is naturally keen to get hold of the latest Mercedes engine spec.
“Obviously, the works team has had a power unit upgrade, which would ideally have at the back of our car as well. It seems to have been a good step forward. Lewis was certainly going very quickly.”
When quizzed on the potential timeframe for receiving the improved Mercedes package, Smedley replied:
“That’s currently under discussion. We’ve got another power unit to take before the end of the race. And whether or not that is the new specification, I can’t tell.
“If we get it before the end of the year, that would be a great advantage to us. If it’s delivering power and we get it towards the end of the year, then great.”