I’ve been reading several stories about the tumult at Williams F1 this week. The issues are not good over at Williams.
First, the team were late with the build and this prompted a delay to their first test session. They missed a couple days of test one which doesn’t sound like a big deal unless you consider that there are only eight days of pre-season testing. That’s 25% gone.
Second, the car was well off the pace and both drivers were critical in the press about it. On one hand, you could say “big deal”, drivers grumbling is common in F1 and you could pass that off as pre-season testing frustrations. However, both drivers are new to the team and neither put in serious mileage or serious pace and why would both drivers already be at a state of publicly complaining when the season hasn’t even started yet? I sense there are major issues within the team.
Third, the car was questionable from a legality standpoint and the rumors of new CTO, Paddy Lowe, possibly being sacked came to fruition this week. The team said he is on leave of absence for personal reasons.
That leads to today’s raft of stories from “The end is nigh” to “it’s actually a good thing they got these issues out of the way early on in the season and they will be better for it”. Critics and apologists one and all. I’ve read both.
It seems to be the zeitgeist of this age as journalism has reduced itself to #Actually tweets, posts and articles. For every issue or event, there is a clear and logical conclusion based on seeing it in its available light and then a throng of #Actually articles that immediately spring up to take an alternative view under the guise of enlightened introspection while garnering clicks, likes, shares and RT’s. I find it tedious, boorish and not introspective at all. Ignoring reality is for cattle and loveplay.
Williams are now making some last-minute changes to their suspension and mirrors to ensure legality ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. That’s good, I suppose, and I don’t find it a serious negative. If Paddy pushed the envelope, so be it, that’s how teams gain advantages and there was a time Williams would be comfortable with that.
Williams entered the 2009 season with a gamble called a dual diffuser and there were legal challenges, FIA court of appeal hearings and more. In the end, it was Williams, Brawn and Toyota who had made a clever interpretation of the regulations and it paid big dividends for Brawn who was enjoying the fruit of Honda’s labors by purchasing the team for one Pound.
Williams had a young German driving named Nico Hulkenberg who actually drove well and outshone his teammate, Kazuki Nakajima. Williams finished 7th out of ten teams. Still, they had taken the aggressive double diffuser and ran with it.
In the end, we can spin all of this however we want but like Sauber before Fred Vasseur joined, you don’t fire the entire team, you fire the coach. He turned that team around and I’ve been saying for 3 years, it is time to move Claire to an executive role at Williams and find a new team boss.
If you watched the documentary on Netflix about Sir Frank and Claire, I don’t think either of them would be easy to deal with and it would take a special personality. It’s a shame Paddy wasn’t that person and he even owns stock in the team. If a CTO stock-owner can’t manage the team, I’m not sure who can.
Hat Tip: Autosport