There have never been as many Williams quotes and exclusives out and about at any given time this past decade, save perhaps for the release of Maurice Hamilton’s “Williams” or the occasional magazine special edition.
It’s a challenge to keep up with them all but the Independent’s David Tremayne shared a few lovely moments in his Barcelona race report.
Not least the fact that board member Clare Williams bought her father Frank a trophy for his seventieth birthday on April 16 this year.
It was a spoof present, a joke. We all agree we hadn’t seen one for a while… Now we’ve got two.
A while is an understatement, as I wrote here after Qualifying. And you will have since read over and over that it had been more than seven years and six months, at Interlagos in 2004, since Williams’ last F1 win. Barcelona was the team’s 113th F1 victory in total, but it was also secured at the 131st* attempt. As Keith Collantine mentioned, only Ligier have faced a longer drought, at a whopping 223 winless Grands Prix.
Sir Frank was not only in the pit lane at the right time – he prefers the warmer climates these days – but the other teams had decided that Spain (not the preceding event) was the place to throw him a big shindig. And then came the overdue win for the team owner and founder…
It feels wonderful. This is exactly what we needed, and I don’t believe that Pastor put a wheel wrong all race.
Wasn’t it just exactly what the team needed? As an ardent fan, I didn’t really expect it – in a sense not even after qualifying. A good chance at great points or a podium seemed probable, but it was almost uncharted waters to consider victory. (Seriously, when did Williams last look capable of that? Nico Rosberg at Monaco or Singapore perhaps once or twice, viewed with very rose-tinted glasses, otherwise it would be the already pretty poor 2005 season with BMW engines.)
When positing on Saturday that Williams would have probably traded the great grid spot for a fifth-place finish, given the context, I wondered if that was unfair. But part-owner Toto Wolff told Autosport’s Jonathan Noble the team was primarily aiming for a haul of valuable points.
But I didn’t dream about the win, and I didn’t dream about it after qualifying either. Our aim was to keep it calm and score solid points. This is what Pastor’s target was in the morning, so he was not going flat out and crazy for the win.
Wolff also said that this win – even at the “barometer” in Barcelona, and at an apparently measured pace – is not a guarantee of a repeat in the immediate future, or a sign that the FW34’s suddenly a title dark horse.
I can get used to this kind of stuff, I like it. But I think we cannot expect results like this to happen on every occasion, or that we will be there now as a top contender.
We have seen Sauber run very competitively in Malaysia, and we have seen [Nico] Rosberg having a tremendous race [in China], while here it was us. So it is a tricky situation which the engineers need to understand.
But it definitely gives the team a boost of confidence and a boost of motivation. It is going to boost Pastor and it will boost Bruno [Senna]. So let’s live with the euphoria now before we go back to work.
Love the shout out to Nico Rosberg there – something the German returned on Twitter today. Two longstanding Williams-related F1 droughts have ended in darn near consecutive races. It has been a joy to behold.
As Wolff says, it’s way too early to start somersaulting longer-term – with five different winners in first five rounds, and with as yet winless Lotus Renault looking as strong as anybody. Not to mention that it’s Monaco and Montreal next up – hardly tracks that are known for their tedious predictability.
But then again, Pastor Maldonado has shone consistently at Monaco – in GP2 and in his debut F1 year.
This fan can gladly heed Wolff’s advice and “live with the euphoria.” But suffice to say that Williams has whetted my whistle, I’d love some more success – and with a shorter interlude than last time.
*Discounting Indianapolis 2005