After unexpectedly arriving late to pre-season testing in February of last year, Williams suffered their worst season in Formula 1 to date, registering just a single point in the entire campaign, never quite recovering from that stuttering start.
Claire Williams, Williams’ Deputy Team Principal has now revealed that failures in the team’s planning process may have been responsible for the delay, and other missed opportunities to gain ground on its competition throughout the season.
In an interview with Autosport, Williams said:
“One of the areas that wasn’t as strong as it should have been was our planning function and end-to-end planning”
“Making sure that we had the process for a part in aero, going through to the design office then going into production and manufacturing – that wasn’t as strong as it should have been.”
But it’s something the team has begun to address.
“We have just put into the business back in June this year a fully formed planning function that is solely dedicated to that end-to-end planning of racecar design through to racecar production.”
Planning isn’t the only area Williams have been forced to strengthen in recent months. As a legacy of Williams’ 40+ years in Formula 1, and of the length of service of key personnel, their dependency on these key figures became too great, and when one moved on, important knowledge and learning was lost.
“We’ve had a lot of people stay within the business for a long time but if you lose one of those key heads that has got all the information in their heads, you think you might capture it or before they leave but something’s going to fall, and we can’t we can’t operate like that.”
“We have to bring Williams into the modern era of F1 racing.”
Note the tense of the word ‘have’ suggesting that this work is ongoing, rather than something that has already been accomplished.
It would seem a lot of work still needs to be done between now and the start of a make or break couple of seasons beginning in 2021 with a new era of technical, financial and sporting regulations.
It would be a great relief if, in 2020, we’re able to see signs that this hard work is starting to pay off.