Williams has undeniably lifted its performance recently, a progress deputy team principal Claire Williams attributes to the new direction followed by the team’s aero department.

The start to Williams’ 2019 campaign was a story of missed deadlines, limited testing and deficient engineering.

At the outset, rookie George Russell and F1 returnee Robert Kubica made up the rear, racing in isolation among themselves on Sundays, weighed down by their painfully slow and inferior FW42.

Russell wants ‘more dynamic’ approach from Williams

Back at Grove, Williams’ engineers hunkered down to follow a slow and fastidious analysis and rehabilitation process of the team’s car, painstakingly addressing both its mechanical and aerodynamic weaknesses.

“There have been a lot of mechanical upgrades or improvements, etc – work that’s been going on that you may not necessarily have seen – that has really helped stabilise the car and give the drivers greater confidence,” Williams explained, speaking to Formula1.com.

“A lot of work has gone into some of those components. But then obviously we needed to focus on aero performance as well because that’s where we were really down after the winter.

“But through putting in this new approach that we did last year, we always knew that was going to take some time to come to fruition.”

Updates introduced at Silverstone, while they didn’t yield an immediate performance boost, delivered a dose of confidence to Williams for the validation they conveyed.

“I think the bargeboard probably showed us that the direction that the aero group are taking is the right one – we’ve been waiting quite a long time to see whether it is,” added Williams.

“We have fantastic correlation between the track and the tunnel.

“The work that the aero group have done on rakes for example, on simulation work – the direction they’ve taken in that work alone – has really helped move the dial forward for us from an aero perspective.”

And that move forward was tangible in Hungary where Russell missed out on Q2 in qualifying by the smallest of margins. Was this moment Williams’ long-awaited turning point?

“I think George has explained it as taking five steps back to move 10 steps forward,” said Williams, referring to the team’s strenuous aero development work.

“It definitely feels like that and it has been a long wait to be able to see it, but we knew we were going to have to wait if we were going to see the benefit.

“You can get a bit lost in a loop sometimes in aero, so it was a case of taking those steps back and now I think we’re definitely seeing that we can move forward, hopefully quickly.

“It certainly feels that we are in a much better position than we’ve been and it’s now just about continuing that development path that we’re on and hoping we can continue to close down the gap to P9.”

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