Symonds: I didn’t expect the fight from Force India that we got

Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia. Sunday 9 October 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams FW38 Mercedes, leads Sergio Perez, Force India VJM09 Mercedes, and Nico Hulkenberg, Force India VJM09 Mercedes. Photo: Andrew Hone/Williams ref: Digital Image _ONZ5363

Williams technical chief Pat Symonds has admitted that his team did not do enough to improve ahead of this season and as a result they are fighting Force India in the championship standings.

Symonds told F1i, “I didn’t expect the fight from Force India that we got, I’ll be honest, but I don’t think we actually improved our car enough over the winter.

“Of course this year we haven’t put as much development on it as normal [with radical regulation changes planned for 2017] but I suspect that’s true of others as well.

“But perhaps the one that’s caught us is Force India and their major upgrade that they did – irrespective of their little ones – was pretty damn impressive. I was surprised by that.”

“So we made the decision to switch to the 2017 car quite early but I don’t think that’s really reflected in our position now. I think that’s much more the fact that Force India did a very good upgrade and we didn’t do a good enough job over the winter. I think they’re the two things combined to put us where we are now.”

In 2014 and 2015 Williams were among the best of the rest behind dominant Mercedes, finishing third in the constructors’ championship on both occasions with far less funding than the ‘big three’ teams.

However this year they have dropped down the pecking order and are currently fifth in the standings ten point adrift of Force India and way off the top three teams.

Symonds said, “If I’m completely honest last year I said to the board that I believed we would be fourth in the championship, so finishing third last year was quite a surprise to me. I think this year I still felt fourth was the position that we would be.”