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Symonds: 2015 a 'consolidation year' for Williams

ESPN Staff
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Williams technical chief Pat Symonds says 2015 is a "consolidation year" for the team as it looks to permanently re-establish itself at the front of the grid.

In 2014 Williams bounced back from one of its last ever seasons as it finished third behind Mercedes and Red Bull, a remarkable achievement having scored just five points the year before. Despite often being the second best team behind Mercedes a conservative approach to races meant it did not secure a podium until Austria.

The team also missed out on several opportunities to win races through a risk-free approach to race weekends and Symonds admits this outlook will change.

"Yes, I do," Symonds told ESPN when asked if Williams can aim for outright victories in 2015. "I call this year a consolidation year because what's really important after a season like '14, where we really did tip things on their head and got it all working, we need to make sure we keep it like that. It's important to consolidate. That's if you like a business ambition.

"It was so important last year to just get a few points every race, just keep momentum. I feel we can now recover well from any situation. So if we do take a slightly risky strategy and it doesn't come off we'll still be OK, it won't be a disaster. I have very firm rules of how I do risk assessment so I think we'll be OK and if we have potential in the car we'll certainly do what we can to challenge."

Symonds thinks Williams still needs to find the complete winning mentality it lacked last year but is confident the team is moving in the right direction.

"In terms of racing I'm really pleased with the way the race team grew with time. There's still a bit of a need to convince them their winner, and that's a very important attitude. If you don't go into a race thinking you can win you don't win, simple as that.

"So there's a little bit along the way but we've strengthened the race team even further this year. Bringing Dave Robson in, bringing Carl [Gaden] up into the engineering group … and Mark Pattinson who is new chief mechanic. It's all designed to get the whole thing running a bit more professionally, a little bit more modern. It gives me confidence that we can afford to, I'm not going to say take risks, but we don't have to be as risk-averse as we were last year."

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