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Williams could revert to FW34 exhaust
Williams technical director Mike Coughlan says the team could be forced to switch back to its 2012-specification exhaust as it struggles with the FW35.
Having been very optimistic following the new car's debut in pre-season testing, Williams started the year well off the pace, struggling in both Australia and Malaysia. Coughlan admits that the team is struggling to get the Coanda exhaust to work properly and as a result could be forced to revert to last year's solution.
"It's understanding Coanda," Coughlan said. "It's grip and we need to go away and get a more consistent platform for the driver.
"We'll be in a position quite soon where if we don't nail it we'll use Friday's as test sessions. We're of the opinion at the moment that a FW34-type of car would be faster. I don't think we'll go back to an FW34, but we might go back to an FW34 style of exhaust system and treat Fridays as tests across cars. We'll go back on Tuesday and have a complete rethink and see if we have enough time to change things before China."
Despite considering a switch to the 2012 specification, Coughlan believes that the FW35 has the capacity to be much faster than it currently is.
"We feel there is lots of potential to unleash. As soon as you have a situation where there is a loss of downforce on corner entry the driver is suddenly a bit spooked and he just corners at a low potential. So even if you can show him he's got a lot more grip the problem is that he's understeered in, he now has oversteer and he's then trying to protect the rear tyres. So we've given the driver a very difficult platform to use.
"We still believe we have fundamentally a car capable of being in the lower regions of the top ten. [At Sepang] we were close but we ultimately fell short. We have a few major things to fix and then we think we can unharness the potential. The question is how long that will take."