Claire Williams ‘can’t wait’ until end of the season
Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams ‘can’t wait’ until the end of the Formula 1 season as the team languishes in 10th in the constructors’ championship.
A former powerhouse of the championship, Williams has slipped from fifth in the constructors’ standings for the past two years to currently be last.
It has three top 10 finishes to its name in 2018, two of which came at Monza, and its seven points put it 26 behind ninth-placed Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Speaking on F1’s official podcast, Williams revealed that she is still coming to grips with the squad’s 2018 showing.
“It’s been an enormous shock actually,” she conceded.
“I fully expected to come into this year in a much better place. I think we all did, and probably a lot of fans of ours around the world thought that we were going to be coming out with a much quicker race car.
“That was the expectation, so when we got to testing, we didn’t even have to wait till Australia to really realise that that wasn’t the case.
“But as the season has progressed, certainly in the earlier races, it was an enormous shock. I couldn’t quite believe that Williams was repeatedly finding itself down at the bottom of the grid, either in qualifying or (the race). And I don’t think I’ve quite gotten over that shock yet.
“All I know is that there are two races to go and I can’t wait until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi, if I’m allowed to say that.”
Sergey Sirotkin joined even younger incumbent Lance Stroll as the team’s two drivers for this season, while Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe had oversight of development of the FW41 having arrived at Grove in March last year.
Williams did not nominate a specific area of weakness in the team or car nor heaped blame on any particular person, and indeed maintained that the harmony within the team despite its struggles is a source of great pride.
“Clearly we’ve had countless meetings with Paddy, with the whole technical group,” she said.
“Clearly there are a number of issues at play but I’m not a one to air dirty laundry.
“One of the things that I’m proudest of this year is that the team has really stuck together. We could have imploded, we could have all started a load of infighting, we could have sacked half the people, but that’s not the way that I wanted this to play out.
“Of course, we’ve had conversations, and we know the clear areas of weakness. I think probably the world can see the biggest areas of weakness for us, and of course there has to be accountability. We have to look at where we’ve gone wrong.
“Probably aero we went wrong with, cooling we went wrong with, but there are many other factors at play.
“You don’t find yourself sliding back from P5 to P10 in the championship without a lot of other things at play as well. It’s not just about how we went about designing our race car over the winter.
“All I can say is, we’re doing every single thing possible to make sure that we address every single problem that we have in this team in order to make sure 2019 is better for us.
“But if it’s not, at least I know that we’re setting ourselves up for certainly a better future beyond that.”
Rob Smedley, head of vehicle performance, will leave the team at the end of the season, citing family reasons and the length of his time in F1 as the reasons.
Meanwhile Stroll has been heavily linked to Racing Point Force India, which was saved from oblivion by a consortium led by father Lawrence in August.