Chris Williams (M-Sport): “Adrien didn’t see his speed or the risk of this speed”

Highly criticized last season for the lack of reliability of its Ford Puma, M-Sport is having a convincing start to 2024 in this area. Chris Williams, the technical director, explains where this turnaround comes from and he returns to the transformation of Adrien Fourmaux.

Published on 26/04/2024 à 11:09

Loïc ROCCI

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Chris Williams (M-Sport): “Adrien didn’t see his speed or the risk of this speed”

Chris Williams takes stock of the Puma's newfound reliability and Adrien Fourmaux's progress (Photo: Dan Bathie / M-Sport)

Last year, you experienced many problems with your cars. This is not the case this season. What did you do during the offseason to resolve your concerns?

Nothing important (laughing).

Was that obviously enough?

We focused on priorities and certain processes, but there were no big changes.

How do you explain this variation in results? Was it bad luck? Were your drivers misusing your hardware?

They were different and they are again this year, so I don't think it's related.   

Does this surprise you?

We are back to where we should have been.

Does this mean that you went too far in terms of development or in your settings?

Last year we spent our time developing things. We were always late and there were constant changes. Constantly… We were constantly pushing to make changes. This year, it's calmer. We look carefully to see if it's interesting, if we're happy with what we want to introduce by taking our time.

What's new in 2024? Was it because you had a driver who had the speed to win rallies and you wanted to give him a car to do it?

Last year we had a driver who didn't like 90% of the car. So we changed so many little things…all the time. A little bit, a little bit, a little bit… It was: “ this is wrong, this is wrong, we need to improve, this and this… » This resulted in changes, again and again. It was very frantic. Today, with the return ofAdrien fourmaux, development takes place around it. The car is now more made for him. I think it works now with the experience we gained last year… and because he is more comfortable in the Puma.

And does this give decent results?

From time to time, when he rides with the right set up and rides free, he sets good times like in Croatia.

How have you seen him evolve between 2022 and this season?

For me, he's probably more relaxed in the car. In 2022, for his first year in Rally1, at Monte-Carlo he wanted to win from the start of the race, perhaps even before the start. Adrien set some good times, but his accident was violent. I wonder if in 2022 he realized how fast he was a few times. He did not see his speed or the risk of this speed. He was driving fast...and he was going off the road. This year he attacks, but he doesn't forget that he also has to finish. Adrien now knows that there is no need to constantly push.

In Croatia, you presented a new wing. What will be the next developments that will appear on the Puma?

We are at a moment where we need to be sure that what we want to introduce really makes sense. We continue development, but it is not possible to make big gains now so we are working on several topics and trying to identify which ones work.

Loïc ROCCI

Journalist specializing in rallying past, present and future... and with a southern accent

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