Latest Williams News

To buddy or not to buddy: that is the question

August 15, 2018

The relationship between Haas and Ferrari has undoubtedly changed the dynamic of Formula 1 in a very short space of time. The cross pollination of teams is seriously impacting traditionally independent teams such as Williams and fellow British ‘garagista’ and once great McLaren who now find themselves as odd-ones-out in a playground full of ‘buddies’.

But there is some resistance to emulate said relationship amongst said teams. The argument being, and it’s a valid one, that Formula 1 needs independent constructors to compete independently. It’s in its DNA and once that’s removed then the spirit of the sport, and arguably what has made the sport what it is today is sorely affected.

But with the FIA and Liberty putting pressure on teams to reduce budgets and staffing levels, and Ferrari/Haas/Alfa Romeo opening the door to the sharing of hardware, intellectual property and personnel it’s becoming increasingly difficult for teams like Williams to retain the independence they value so dearly.

“I can’t believe how much the landscape’s changed in such a short period of time,” said Claire Williams of being an independent F1 team.

“Probably the most notable thing that’s having an impact on us and our performance is teams ‘buddying up”

“That puts more pressure on teams like ours that don’t have those kinds of relationships.”

“Being an independent constructor, and doing it on our own, is very different, and it does make it harder. From a financial perspective inevitably this has a knock-on effect.”

And it’s a view shared by Zak Brown of McLaren. “I don’t like the direction of the amount of collaboration that’s going on. I think it’s become too much, because now we’ve seen that collaboration not only be technical, but it’s now political, it’s now drivers.”

So Williams find themselves in a position where, in order to be able to compete, they are being forced to compromise their autonomy. But do it they must, or face being left in the slipstream of those who do.


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