Williams Not Giving Up Best Of The Rest Just Yet

“Rob Smedley says Williams will focus on the fact it was “clearly faster” than Ferrari at the British Grand Prix rather than the fact the team missed out on a podium.”


This is the opening line in an article a few days ago at ESPN’s F1 website. Maybe the headline should read “Ferrari, Williams Is Faster Than You…” Yes, a little fun at Smedly’s expense. At the very least the Ferrari-turned-Williams strategist is right about one thing, at Silverstone the white cars were clearly faster than the red ones, over one-lap speed and in race trim.

Does this mean Williams have actually overhauled Ferrari in the pecking order as Smedly suggests? The answer to that all important question can only be determined over the next several races, more than likely after the summer break. Before the break Hungary is up, not really a track that showcases a car’s true strengths, unless you don’t have a lot of horse power and if your chassis is good in the start and stop mode, the Mercedes W06 notwithstanding. Oh yeah, and according to Jenson Button the MP4-30, whatever…

But let’s for just one second entertain the idea that Frank, Claire, Pat, Rob, Valtteri, Massa and company have actually done what is so very difficult to do in today’s F1, find more pace and move past a top team. I can’t remember that actually happening since 2010 when the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were able to catch and pass the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber and the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso on occasion to make it a five-way fight around the beginning of the second half of the season.

If Williams can stay ahead on genuine pace and with their rate of development, this would mean two things: one, that Williams has really and truly turned a corner. Note: It is one thing for a constructor to produce a fast car out of the box, we see this year in and year out at the beginning of the season, but once the development race starts a car that was fast becomes one that isn’t. To win championships a team needs to take that fast car and put new pieces on it which actually deliver what they are supposed to, PACE, week-in and week-out.

Two, and much more important as far as the world of Formula 1 is concerned, this would seem to indicate that Ferrari has not made the comeback that we all gave them credit for. Yes, the car is much faster, by about 80 prancing horses, and yes, it is much easier to drive, thank you very much Mr. Allison, but it would also appear that those all important updates (since Canada) have not delivered the goods or rather not nearly enough goods were delivered.

After Silverstone it would appear the red cars have gone backwards or at the very least have not moved forward as far as speed is concerned in closing the gap to Mercedes which is curious because I really thought this was a track that Ferrari was going to shine at, and now are behind Williams as well.

Williams is still looking for a race win in this new era of Martini sponsorship with new drivers Felipe Massa and Valterri Bottas. Last year they came very close in Austria only to lose out at the hands of Nico Rosberg and Mercedes. This past race in England it looked as though they might pull off the win which would have truly signaled that the team from Grove is back; however the weather and a questionable pit-wall decision allowing its drivers to race got in the way.

As of right now the team Frank Williams started over thirty years ago looks fast, can they keep up the pressure on Ferrari and even possibly challenge Mercedes? I want to believe they can, and Williams is beloved by many F1 fans so I am probably not alone in feeling this way.

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