Williams' performance in 2017 has consistently landed it near the middle of the pack, falling behind fourth place Force India but keeping the edge on teams like McLaren and Sauber. A slightly-under par machine and shifting consistency from its driver team has kept the British crew from advancing any further, but according to Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe, things are looking up for 2018. He claims "substantial changes" for next year's car, and if they can land a star driver to both compete and mentor young Lance Stroll, Williams could be seeing significant gains come this season's end.
By making these tweaks to the car for next year, Williams intends on being a much more competitive crew, matching alongside teams like Red Bull. Additionally, if the machine is in in the right place fundamentally, drivers are more likely to be drawn in to the Williams outfit. Rumors of the team seeking out Fernando Alonso have been a hot topic in the paddocks, and he seems to be a suitable fit for the building unit.
"We will be making some quite substantial changes,” said Lowe to Motorsport.com. “There are lots of different things that we’ll be doing and we’re well into that at the moment. There will be quite a few areas where we will be changing philosophy.”
Williams is currently in a tight contest with Renault and Haas for that fifth place in constructor's standings with just 11 points separating the three teams. This, Lowe admits, is the main focus as of right now.
“We have to look at the trends. We are fighting hard in that midfield group. We haven’t created any distance ahead of it but if anything we’ve slipped well into it in the last couple of months."
By using the experience and data from this year, Williams plans on culminating these factors to improve next season. Though its budget isn't what it used to be, it's still sixth largest out of the ten teams, so there is marginal room to work with. A large portion of this could be used on landing a new driver next year, but if it does end up being Alonso, he could potentially take a significant pay cut to have a chance at winning once again.
“We have a set of resources and it's our job to do the best we can with those resources," Lowe explained. "It’s about efficiency. We can be a lot more efficient than we are being at the moment.
“As we achieve more success, that will attract more resources to improve ourselves still further. That’s the formula of grand prix development.”