Both drivers spun off in Q1 on separate occasions. Apparently, they experienced aerodynamic stalls after the DRS was deactivated.
Stroll was stranded in the gravel trap and didn’t record a time. Sirotkin fared a little better and was able to recover. However, he was still the slowest of the 18 remaining cars that completed a flying lap.
Williams deduced that the problem stemmed from the way its newly introduced rear wing was interacting with the floor. As a result, they have opted to revert to the previous wing design as well as changing some other parts.
A change of specification after a qualifying session usually results in a pitlane start for the concerned driver.
The Williams drivers will line up ahead of Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley. The Kiwi did not take part in qualifying after a major crash in FP3. Hartley was forced to change his chassis overnight. Initially, Sirotkin and Stroll were due to start 18th and 19th respectively.
“We brought in some new pieces [on Friday] and we need to do more work,” said technical chief Paddy Lowe.
“We have an intermittent problem with the floor stall, related only to DRS. It doesn’t recover well enough for the subsequent corner.
“We can only assume now that it’s related to the new pieces even though we did a proper introduction and seemed to have a stable platform as we finished FP2 yesterday.
“The phenomenon of today is something we’ve never seen before on this car or indeed any other car.
“We have the rear wing, our previous rear wing, which is absolutely fine in this aspect.”
So far, the Williams team has been struggling majorly this season, even more so than McLaren.