Sky Sports F1 spent quite some time in Friday Free Practice 1 considering all the reason for Williams F1’s struggling season. After finishing as the last of the classified cars in Bahrain, Williams F1 has more questions than answers and the drivers as equally befuddled as to the lack of pace.
The days of sheer elation with the signing of Martini as the title sponsor and infusion of cash has now dimmed with Martini’s impending departure and the stark realization of losing Bottas and sinking to the back of the grid.
Williams isn’t known for their prolific budget to go racing and that’s always been part of their challenge. Williams is one team who has always ran their balance sheet accordingly in the sense that if income is down, then expenses will be reduced to remain as close to profitable as they can.
“In Bahrain it was shocking how much of a step backwards (it was),” said Lance Stroll.
Paying drivers are a large component of their budget and handing Valtteri Bottas over to Mercedes leaving a vacant seat for rookie Sergey Sirotkin was yet another financial move that some suggest reduced their engine expense. In the end, the team comes first and the balance sheet, employment and other activities the team does in the field of engineering all combine to make a tidy business to keep Claire and her team gainfully employed.
The development budget will be a factor in the cost reduction program and it is evidenced by no upgrades until Spain. The season isn’t looking very promising and while some point their finger at Paddy Lowe, I wonder if this isn’t a case of Paddy’s hands being tied behind his back with a modest budget to not only design a car but build a strong competitor.
We know it isn’t the power unit causing their duress so it is all down to chassis and if the team doesn’t have a budget to aggressively develop, this could be a long, punishing season for the folks in Grove.