Can Paddy change Williams F1?

I’ve not met many people who don’t want the best for Williams and we’ve pondered what must happen at the team in order to really turn things around. From moving Claire to Sir Frank’s role and finding a new team boss to trying harder with the folks they have in the positions they keep.

It’s a tough call and only Williams really know…or do they? According to CTO Paddy Lowe, the team may be working under the allusion that they are a few simple elements away from winning races again and he told Autosport that they need to…

“get out of this mindset that there are just two or three things to fix and than everything will be OK, and we’ll be winning races”.

“It is a mindset that I think has been in Williams for a very long time,” said Lowe, whose team last won a grand prix in 2012 but has not clinched a title since 1997.

“The mindset we need is to say, ‘Everything is available to be challenged and everything has to be done better every year’, otherwise you’re being left behind by a very strong set of competitors.

“All 10 teams in Formula 1 are well financed, relative to history, they’re well populated with really, really well educated engineers, some of the most talented in the world.

“You can’t stand still in any area and this is a mentality that we need to adopt and we are adopting.

“That was not present before. Even I fell into that trap as a new fresh set of eyes to the team.”

In fairness to Williams, they have the best engine on the grid but clearly they don’t have the best chassis or biggest budget. That’s ok, neither did Force India and they managed to do quite well the past few seasons with the same engine.

So what would it take? In order to win races I’m afraid they would have to approach the resource levels of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull but sans cash, can they reassess all aspects of their operation and realize that they are far from winning using these three simple tricks?

Williams isn’t far behind another once-glorious team called McLaren and while their troubles have been painfully public, Paddy would prefer to keep Williams off the radar of the press and work the issues out internally even though a few recent departures have been very public.

“The work we’ve got to do is internal, and we would rather do it internally, and not to declare it or define it in the media.

“I don’t want my staff to read first in the media that we’re about to sort of reorganise such and such department.

“We like to be as open as we can, and be honest, but some things you have to do internally first.”

I think he’s suggesting they have major changes to make and while that may be true, I have to think that finding key players in each department will be tough to do without serious payroll resources. Having said that, Force India managed to do it so I have every confidence that Williams can too. In fact, I’m like everyone else. I want Williams F1 back up toward the top.

It’s painful to see Williams, and McLaren for that fact, struggling so much. Can Paddy make some serious changes internally and you have to think the politics are going to be seriously difficult to manage as well. In fact, I would say this article could be a shot across the bow to Williams ownership from Lowe.

Can Paddy convince Frank and Claire that big changes need to happen and those changes may not be things wither of them agree with? Sometime making progress means stopping the direction the current owners have always moved toward. Convincing Williams and his daughter that their ways haven’t worked and they have nothing to lose in trying a different path will be tough work.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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I think Claire need to go, which is a shame as I quite like her (it was very interesting listening to her background on the F1 podcast) and it’s great for the sport to have more women involved. But ultimately ‘the buck stops at the top’. In any industry, if a company is not performing, you need to look at management, and after several years of running Williams, Claire has had her shot at it. If we were talking about a driver she would have got the boot long ago. It’s time Frank put his feeling for his daughter aside… Read more »