Massa: Williams finally changing development approach... but for 2018

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Felipe Massa has claimed Williams is finally making efforts to adjust their approach to car development but doesn't anticipate any impact until 2018, amid a difficult run of results.

The Grove-based outfit has slipped back this year in the competitive order currently 65 points behind Force India in fifth place albeit maintaining a reasonable advantage over the rest of the midfield in the Constructors' standings.

However, a bad batch of upgrades at the Austrian Grand Prix has seen Williams struggling for single lap pace since and playing catch up although points results have continued through race day recoveries.

For Massa, who finished 11th in Singapore, a lack of good development is something he has tried to help with throughout his spell with the team, since 2014, but only now does the Brazilian feel like progress is being made even if not quickly enough.

“I don’t think it will be addressed for this season but I think we can still improve a little bit the car,” he said. “The mentality of the development needs to be different. It is different already, but maybe not for this year.

“Many mentalities, many ideas I have pushed for three years and it has not changed. I think now the mentality has changed, but it’s not for the now, it’s for the future.”

One event that was expected to change Williams' fortunes was the arrival of Paddy Lowe from Mercedes as the new Technical Chief, and Massa does admit he has made some impact. 

“Yes, a lot. Not only Paddy but I think the mentality of the team,” he said. “There were so many errors it was not really correct but now it’s correct. Unfortunately, we couldn’t improve the car in the way we wanted this year, but the mentality is completely different already.

“The idea is completely different for developing a new car, which I believe Williams can have next year in terms of even the looks but it’s impossible to say now how it will be next year. You don’t know what the others are doing.

“Everybody knows the rules, the rules are the same next year. To be honest, we know other teams are not stupid, but it’s important to change the mentality to really build things in the right way. We’ll see.”

Whether Massa will be around to find out, however, is unknown amid speculation Robert Kubica could be lined up to replace the former Ferrari driver, who stayed on this year after initially announcing his retirement at the end of 2016.