Formula 1’s Managing Director of motorsport Ross Brawn has given his opinion about the source of Williams’ current struggles.
Williams slumped to their worst ever finish in a Formula 1 World Championship in 2018, ending the season bottom of both World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championships, amassing a measly seven points all year.
This is a far cry from the halcyon days of the 1990s where the team won nine F1 titles in 10 years, and a marked decline from their performances in the early days of the V6 turbo-hybrid era which began in 2014.
In an interview with Autosport, Ross Brawn said:
“Mercedes still have the same people that I found there in 2007 and that is more than 10 years of stability.”
“Williams…went through changes and it always takes a while for those things to settle down.”
Williams themselves acknowledge that recent restructuring has had an impact on performance, Paddy Lowe admitting recently that Williams are a team ‘in transition’.
But he also said that transitional period was coming to close and that Williams had “already completed the turnaround.“
Speaking of the similarities between the difficulties Williams are experiencing and the ones at McLaren – another sleeping giant – Ross Brawn added:
“They are great teams with a great history, but unfortunately Formula 1 is not a great respecter of histories. It only respects what’s going on track.”
“We as Formula 1 very much want those teams to get back into a competitive position because they’re great teams.”
“They have capacity to get back into a competitive place, but it’s a tough job.”
While the two icons struggles have manifested themselves in the same way – a fight not to be at the back of the field come the chequered flag – one consolation is that Williams’ leadership has remained in the hands of Sir Frank and Claire Williams, whose vision remains the same for the team as it always has been.
And while McLaren found themselves in a battle for power and reliability from their engine suppliers of late, Williams have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy the benefits of the best engine in Formula 1.
So while personnel and structures may change, the bedrock of a world championship winning team is still there.
Hopefully the Williams FW42 is the car that can take them a step closer to that goal.