Tricky one, this.
There are many people who think that one of the duties of Team Principal, as leader, is to accept ultimate responsibility for performance and results, irrespective of who they are, or what they’ve achieved in the past.
This is certainly the case in the majority of Formula 1 Teams, but at Williams it’s slightly different. Claire Williams’ surname seems to have bought her a free pass to oversee years of underperformance whilst dodging any culpability.
The way I see it, either she’s no good at her job and avoids any internal scrutiny because her dad is Sir Frank Williams, or key people behind the scenes at Williams know that responsibility for the team’s current slump lies elsewhere and Claire is doing the best she can – the best anyone could do – with the tools she’s been given.
“I would ask Claire to move upstairs into a more presidential role and get in somebody like Andreas Seidl and give them full autonomy. F1 success is all about tomorrow, not yesterday”
Andres Seidl, former boss of Posrche in WSC, was appointed Team Principal by McLaren at the beginning of 2019 which not only coincided with McLaren CEO Zak Brown taking his ‘best car in the world’ bluster into a back seat role, but also with a revival in the team’s fortunes, moving them directly behind the big three where not too long ago they were ninth best out of ten.
But as Brundle goes on to say “we don’t know what we don’t know”, and only those in Williams’ inner sanctum know the real cause of the team’s pitiful showing of late.
Would I join Brundle in replacing Claire Williams? I don’t think I would. I fear the problems at Williams are bigger and more deep rooted than just the Team Principal, and replacing Claire would only act to detract from them for a while until the new TP found his (or her) hands tied by the current limitations of the Williams machine.
That being said, big names keep falling away and it’s left Claire more exposed now than she’s ever been.
Having made yet more promises of yet more corners having been turned behind the scenes and with fewer key people to shoulder the blame if progress doesn’t materialise, the time when Claire Williams chooses to call it a day may be drawing closer, whether it’s the solution to Williams’ problems or not.