Claire Williams: We support Marussia; Ferrari have ‘caught up’

Williams’ Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams has dipped her toe into the F1 newsroom commenting on two of the last week’s more notable stories.

The first topic is the Marussia issue and denial of the team to field last year’s car to start the 2015 season. Most notably and vocally was Force India in their “no” vote and since it required unanimity, the motion was not passed.

Claire, however, said Williams would have voted for Marussia’s plan as they would like to see the grid full.

“We’ve been very clear on our position around Marussia and their entry: we want a full competitive line-up on the grid next year and we will do anything to support Marussia coming back in,” she said.

“We made it very clear in the Strategy Group that we would vote for them to be able to use the 2014 chassis this season. Unfortunately it hasn’t happened, but Williams want a competitive line-up on the grid and we want to help the smaller teams.

“And I think we’ve demonstrated that and are always pushing cost control in Formula 1. That’s to save the smaller teams that are really struggling, the likes of Marussia and Caterham, but also the middle teams as well at the moment that are facing some serious issues.”

Cost control is vital to the future of F1 and Claire highlighted the challenge in real dollars to not just small teams but teams such as Williams and Force India:

“But it’s a hard fight. We’ve got to generate £60m a year in sponsorship to keep our team racing. To be competitive in F1, I don’t believe that you need to spend £200m a year, you’ve got to work harder and smarter than anyone else if you’ve got a smaller budget – but it’s so hard to generate that income.

“That’s why it’s important the cost control issues we’re trying to discuss at the moment are pushed through. It’s critical for the sustainability of our sport.”

Claire also weighed in on Ferrari’s performance at the first test in Jerez. The Italian team led the time sheets leaving some to wonder if that meant they had made significant progress or were Mercedes merely sandbagging. For Claire’s part, she believes it is the former:

“The formbook hasn’t really changed – every team seems to be in a similar position. Ferrari may have caught up a little bit, but we’re pretty happy with the progress we’ve made.”

Let’s be honest with each other here…when was the last time we heard someone at Williams F1 saying that Ferrari may have “caught up” a little bit to them? How great is that if you’re a Williams F1 fan?

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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