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Williams don’t deserve to be at the back – Bottas

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas says he hopes his former team Williams can recover after falling to last in the championship this year.

What they say

Bottas was asked about Robert Kubica’s return to Formula 1 with Williams:

He hasn’t been racing for a while so it will be nice to see how he compares to George. I think the team has had a tough year I know how difficult it is to keep up the motivation and the good spirit when things are tough.

Maybe a new driver line-up will bring some more positivity and things to look for. I’m sure they’re going to be full of energy, both drivers, for the great opportunity for both of them. Hopefully that will help Williams to develop to be where they deserve to be, and that’s not where they are now.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Will the 2019 F1 season give irrefutable proof McLaren made a mistake by splitting from Honda?

It’s quite clear that the Honda engine is already more powerful then Renault in qualifying.

On race day, things are a bit different, the new spec 3 engine from Honda was never correctly calibrated to the chassis, mainly because of what Tost said, lack of development on the chassis.
Toro Rosso were a test mule this season, they proved the engine was not as bad as people tough, but being a test mule also meant that there chassis had to be pretty much the same all season to test what the engine was going to deliver.

Red Bull are no amateurs, if they choose Honda over Renault that’s because they know what it’s capable of, and the development potential it has.
Manuel Falcao (@mfalcao)

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On this day in F1

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “Williams don’t deserve to be at the back – Bottas”

  1. Michael you are missed. Keep fighting.

  2. Any “alternative” to grid penalties won’t be any better. Those need to be scrapped, not replaced. What is wrong is making races interdependent, devaluing the individual races; not how they do it.

  3. Red Bull didn’t ‘choose’ Honda. It was the only supplier left after the Renault relationship went toxic. Ferrari and Mercedes both refused them. And obviously the engine is better now than it was during development. I’m not sure McLaren made a mistake. It’s not just the engine that was the issue, but the working relationship with Honda. Clearly they feel they can work better with Renault. So even if the Honda improves to the point where it’s better than the Renault, it’s still not necessarily the best fit. Just like when Mercedes split. Renault engines can win races. That’s proven. So now it’s down to the car.

    1. @selbbin at the risk of sounding combative; do you not think your statement could also be changed to read; “McLaren didn’t ‘choose’ Renault. It was the only supplier left after the Honda relationship went toxic”?

      I’m sure they were not as bad, but, coupled with your profile pic, it came across a little biased.

      I wish them both the best of luck with the new suppliers and hope we can leave the era of petty bickering behind us.

      1. Well, I agree to a point. The relationship was less toxic. Honda would have stayed with McLaren, so the real choice there was taking Renault or staying with Honda, while Red Bull were dumped by Renault and had to take anything…

    2. @selbbin I agree when you say it’s also about the working relationship, which is why I disagree when you say now it is down to the car. Sure Renault engines can win races, that’s proven, but recently only in a Newey car that specializes at certain tracks and where the pu’s are somewhat equalized due to the nature of the tracks. But we know the days are gone when you could put a great engine in a great car and have a good chance for success. It is now about integrating the two, and the integration of the 2019 Honda Pu with the 2019 Newey RBR is unprecedented, so we’ll just have to see. The way the Honda Pu will perform will very much depend on the cooling it gets, for example, and the way the chassis will perform will for example depend on how the braking works via the Pu. They go hand in hand. Of course yes there is still a level at which one can muse over a good Pu married to a good chassis like in the days prior to this hybrid era, but it is much more complicated than that. I think a good car design these days can enhance the performance of the Pu whereas in the past a good car design mattered less to how the engine itself would perform. Balance and predictable stable performance under braking is very much dependent on the Pu now, as is when and where they have a certain amount of hp depending upon energy recovery and harvesting. Mac couldn’t risk more years of embarrassment and had to make a tough decision, and have found it is still about a working relationship and a marriage of Pu and chassis with Renault.

  4. Also, people need to stop complaining about racing inequality. It’s always been part of the sport and will always be an inherent part of having to make your own car, the unique and primary difference for F1. Teams never dominate forever, and no team has won every race in the season even if they had the car to do it. And lastly, it’s not all just about the win. If you only care who wins, you’re watching it wrong.

    1. @selbbin
      I dont mind there only being 3-4 teams competing for the championship but if it runs out of hand it may lead to only one team competing and an implosion like LMP1.

      When Ferrari spends 3months developing parts that make the car slower or when Mercedes mess up their tyrecalculations and has to do a forced 3 stopper there should be midfieldteams challenging them and not one lap behind. Midfield teams should be able to beat top teams caught on a bad day for the sport to be healthy.

      1. “Midfield teams should be able to beat top teams caught on a bad day for the sport to be healthy.”
        Very good point.

        1. I agree too. Sure there have always been the stronger ‘have’ teams who dominate the top spots, but it wasn’t always that a team like Williams couldn’t get in the mix too. The difference now is that a potential new entrant into F1 would stop at the realization that there is simply no beating the top teams unless one is a factory car/Pu team making it’s own Pu. Hence the desire for Liberty to reduce costs and reduce the size of the gap from the haves to the have nots. The lesser teams simply see little light of any at the end of the tunnel of breaking into the top 3. At least they’re getting marketing impact from being in F1, but…

    2. While I agree in general, it’s also worth pointing out that the best midfield efforts tend to be during periods of relatively stable regulations– 2010-2013 for example (although efforts to lower the front nose, raise the sidewalls, eliminate the f-duct, and ban exhaust blown aero all had impacts).

      The more unstable the regulations, the more advantage the big teams will have.

      Engines have been a free-for-all for the past 3 years to allow teams to try to catch Mercedes, and we’ve had significant aero rule changes in 2014 (new formula), 2015 (new noses), 2017 (wings / width / tires), 2018 (Halo) and 2019 (reduced outwash) necessitating major redesigns by every team for every season.

      Make the FIA use a token system for rule changes. :p

  5. Only way for russell to emulate leclerc is if russell has the car to do so. While leclerc’s performances were impressive one also needs to remember that he had the car to be able to do it. You can go back and look at ricciardo’s performances when he was driving the hrt. This site rated him 23rd out of 28 drivers back then. Had he had a car of the caliber of what leclerc drove this year he would have been way higher.

    Whether williams can produce a good car next year is very difficult to judge now. It depends a lot of things. One is the loss of stroll’s money and another is whether williams did figure out the issues in their current car or not and whether can they fix them or not do the same mistakes again in 2019. Williams also did lots of tests with stroll using the older cars which could give them access to data they won’t have in 2019. The drivers are better in 2019 so even with worse car williams should be faster. Williams went for the money in 2018 and while the on track performances were exactly what you’d expect the money in the bank hopefully allowed them to not cheap on car design for 2019. How much of it stays on bank account and how much goes into the car is not something we know though.

    1. @socksolid From the recent articles on Williams over the past handful of weeks I do not expect much improvement from them next year. They sound in trouble from top to bottom, so to me if they improve much it will have been a fluke. This just from their own admissions of their lack of expertise through and through right now that is making it hard for them to react and make changes even when they do know of a specific problem with the car. And with the marriage of Pu and chassis being ever moreso crucial, I expect little change next year. That said, at least it is a bit of a clean slate for them, so perhaps just a redesign or a rethink alone might garner at least some improvement. I just have no vibe from reading of the state they’re in that they can do too much of significance until they make a lot of changes within the team.

  6. Well Valteri.
    Williams took Kubica on 1 year deal to wait for you for 2020 or even sooner.
    So you’ll find out.

    1. That would be interesting.

    2. Hi Prelvu – wicked but wise… ;-)

    3. Ha ha, nice one! @prelvu

  7. Grid penalties are bad enough, but at least once the lights go out drivers and teams can do there best. Extra weight or DRS restrictions will impact the entire race. That sounds dreadful to watch. Plus it would be especially horrible for midfield and back-marker teams.

    1. Maybe they can make it weighbridge penalties. Drivers have to go to the back of the queue after the race ;)

      1. @coldfly
        I’m not sure Vettel would be a fan of that! :)

  8. I agree. Williams indeed doesn’t belong at the back of the field.

    I also thoroughly agree with the COTD.

    Regarding the AD.NL-article:
    – I thoroughly agree with him and can see where he was coming from since I’ve been there myself as well: I usually don’t condone or support violence, but sometimes, like in this case, it’s understandable given what was at stake and what kind of response was given. I can relate to this case to an extent as I’ve also gone to confront a person who’s done something to me (usually it’s been about something that has happened on the road) to seek an explanation, as well as, an apology from that person. Sometimes successfully, but not every time, although I’ve never really resorted to violence, only verbal mostly.

    1. Forgiveness is better than revenge. It comes with maturity… ;-)

      1. But also let’s be careful with this word ‘violence’ being used in this case. Given the context of the heat of the moment of a sporting event, and given that Ocon was smirking at Max while being ‘violated’ and could have easily apologized and diffused the situation when he knew Max would be furious, I hardly consider this violence. What was Ocon’s physical injury? Did he lay charges? Or did he actually understand he chose to aggravate Max further with his taunting behaviour and got push back for it, pardon the pun.

        1. I agree ‘violence’ is being overused. I also think there is an overuse of the football analogy. Football is already a physical, contact sport, and it’s less surprising if there’s a bit of shoving. The only physical contact in motor-racing is (normally) between cars, and between cars and barriers. For this to carry over to outside the cars is, I think, still unacceptable…
          I hate to use the term: ‘thin end of the wedge’… Oh dear, now I’ve said it… ;-)

          Happy 2019 to all RaceFans…

  9. The grid penalties may be unpopular but to me the alternatives suggested are a combination of been worse or ineffective at doing what the grid penalty system was introduced to do.

    If they do get rid of grid penalties for engine changes etc… what they replace them with needs to be a disincentive to the top teams but also not hurt the mid-field teams disproportionately as let’s not forget that a big part of why the long life components concept was introduced to begin with was to help the mid-field teams.

    The grid penalties were never really popular but the reason they picked them & stuck with them despite the FIA, FOM & the teams via FOTA looking at changing it a dozen times since was because it was the only thing they had which would work as intended. Points drops, financial penalties, Ballast & every other idea that was looked at since 2003/2004 all resulted in the mid-field teams taking a bigger hit than the top one’s which shouldn’t be the case as there the one’s that can least afford the hit.

    I also don’t think this is the sort of thing fans should have any say over because many don’t look at the consequences in terms of who would be affected. Points penalties for example would be ineffective as a penalty for some teams yet crippling for others yet it’s the alternative that gets brought up the most.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      29th December 2018, 14:57

      @stefmeister As a British person, I can only echo your view that asking people to give their opinion on something they don’t fully understand is a BAD idea….

      1. Any sort of penalty be it ballast, or a DRS limitation, that makes a car slower would be an enormous negative for the fans. How many times have we had the pleasure to watch a grid penalized car/driver work their way up through the field? Great stuff.
        On the issue of Williams not “deserving” to be at the back, one team and only one team, will be first and another will be last. If not Williams (this year) who would you nominate for the honor, what about next year.?
        Since the Williams car was consistently slower in 2018 than in 2017, one can be optimistic that they are able to use the knowledge to improve for 2019. I for one, am.

      2. His Pete – Irony, where is thy sting… (with apologies…) ;-)

      3. @petebaldwin – LOL, I feel your pain!

  10. The problem with Williams is that with Stroll and Sirotkin, it was impossible to tell if the car was a dog or the drivers were just terrible. Lance still scored points in Baku and Monza – just as he did in 2017. Sirotkin wasn’t really “pushed” to the limit because Massa was something like 1 second quicker than Stroll in 2017. Sure, if Sirotkin had been 1-1.5 seconds quicker than Stroll in qualifying, then perhaps we could have said that it’s the car.

    If a driver added a second to that Williams in qualifying, would Williams not have scored more points than Toro Rosso?

    Anyway, it’s too late now to talk about that – what’s done is done. If 2017 has shown us anything, it’s that this sport is still ultimately about the drivers, not the machinery. You can give the best car to a driver and he might fail to win the championship, not because he’s not capable of driving quickly. The human factor remains the most important part of this sport and that is how it should be.

    1. @freelittlebirds, Kubica was making exactly the same complaints that Stroll and Sirotkin was and has been supporting both Stroll and Sirotkin in public, suggesting that Williams were, if anything, treating both of those drivers quite poorly and that they are being used to take the blame for the failings of the team.

      He’s been pretty blunt about putting the blame for the problems that Williams have had in 2018 on the designers, complaining that, if anything, the problems came because Stroll and Sirotkin, just like Kubica after he tested the car, were all making the same complaints about the car being terrible to drive, but the designers were in a state of denial and were so committed to their concept that they didn’t accept their criticism until they finally went to Australia and, when comparing the data against their 2017 car, realised that the 2018 car was the mess it turned out to be.

      If Kubica was making the same complaints to the team that Stroll and Sirotkin were whenever he drove the car, either Kubica’s feedback and judgement is no better than that of Stroll and Sirotkin, or all three drivers were struggling with the same core issues that were at the heart of a fundamentally bad car. Given Williams’s rather poor development history over the past decade, the latter seems to be the much more probable conclusion.

      1. And as problematic as F1 is, as discussed ad infinitum, I find it simply not believable that not one but three drivers could be hired as drivers in F1 and be consistently that bad in the Williams, with only marginal differences in their times. The bigger margin came in 2017 when the Williams was a little better but we had the most seasoned veteran Massa who was engrained on the team, against Stroll the rookie. Sure the human element is a big part of the game (see Vettel’s costly mistakes or Max’s first third of the season), but we also know the car is anywhere from 80% to 95% of it depending on who you ask. The best driver on the grid can only do so much with a dog. The WCC car is necessary in order to win the WDC. Yeah the car is a huge part of it. A majority part by far.

        1. @Robbie Sorry but if a driver is 1 second slower than his teammate in qualifying over the entire season with no sign of improving, then there’s zero expectation that the driver will drive the car to its potential in 2018. You can’t blame the car when the driver is 1 second slower. The crazy thing was that Williams got rid of Massa instead of Stroll throwing away a second in the process.

          After doing that, the team cannot come out and say that Stroll and Sirotkin are both terrible drivers and are 1 second slower – after all they picked the lineup and they are getting paid a lot of money by the drivers. They also can’t say that after getting rid of Massa. It’s not as if pointing the finger will make the drivers faster or solve any problems. They are dog slow and the only way to solve that problem is to replace them.

          At that point, though, no one wants to drive that car except Kubica and a rookie which is the 2018 lineup for Williams. You are not going to get Hamilton or Vettel (or even Alonso – Williams can’t afford him and he doesn’t care about P8 and P9 finishes for 5 years) to drive that car and score 50 points for them.

          There’s no way to tell that the car was the issue for Williams when you 2 bad drivers.

          1. @freelittlebirds Let’s start by acknowledging the downward trend at Williams and the recent articles that have spelled out how deep their problems run. That didn’t just start this year. If we are to say Stroll didn’t progress throughout 2017, we also have to say neither did Massa, and neither did the car. And Stroll was a rookie. Btw, the quali difference was only one second in 4 of the last 5 races. For the season overall it was .7 seconds. The thought that Stroll wouldn’t do a lot better in a lot better car is nearly impossible since the car makes up the vast majority of the necessary ingredients for a driver to have success. And I just don’t believe that F1’s standards for hiring drivers have sunken so low that it ‘must’ be the drivers and not the car at Williams these days.

          2. @Robbie well, that’s the whole point! We can’t tell for certain if Williams were in a downward trend between 2017 and 2018. They scored 83 points in 2017 and only 7 in 2018. In 2017, Stroll outscored Massa who as you pointed was 0.7-1 seconds faster in qualifying. One could conclude that Stroll is a great racer, better than Massa, who maxed the points for Williams in 2017. Folks in the paddock would be rolling on the floor if anyone said that seriously…

            With 2 drivers that could have been off by 0.7 to 1 seconds off Massa’s pace, no one knows what the Williams was capable of scoring.

            Look at Sauber where the difference Ericsson and Leclerc wasn’t as bad as the difference between Stroll and Massa. Ericsson scored 9 points and Leclerc scored 39.

            If Stroll raced for Sauber alongside Ericsson and scored 1 point, would the Sauber only be capable of scoring 10 points over the season? Obviously not because a fast driver could score 39 points with that car in his rookie season.

            When you have a driver that has consistently been off the pace by 0.7 seconds and 1 second, you simply cannot blame the car. For all we know, that car was capable of scoring 60 points if Alonso or Lewis were driving it. Lewis in the rain with some luck could have won the race with a Williams – after all, Perez scored a podium in 2012 in the rain and Stroll podiumed in 2016 with a Williams :-)

          3. @freelittlebirds, when you look at the performance of the team over a longer time, it is quite clear that the usual pattern is far more like a few years of moderate success followed by a decline in results.

            The results that Williams have achieved as an independent manufacturer since 2006 are as follows:
            2006: 11 points, 8th in WCC
            2007: 33 points, 4th in WCC
            2008: 26 points, 8th in WCC
            2009: 34.5 points, 7th in WCC
            2010: 69 points, 6th in WCC
            2011: 5 points, 9th in WCC
            2012: 76 points, 8th in WCC
            2013: 5 points, 9th in WCC
            2014: 320 points, 3rd in WCC
            2015: 257 points, 3rd in WCC
            2016: 138 points, 5th in WCC
            2017: 83 points, 5th in WCC
            2018: 7 points, 10th in WCC

            Now, of course, there has been a change in terms of points system during that period, so the points totals aren’t directly comparable across all years, though that still equated to a similar position in the WCC at the end of the year in most instances.

            Even if there might be an argument that the difference might not be so extreme, the strength of their results in 2014 and 2015, and even 2016 and 2017 to some extent, is abnormal compared to their usual historical standard, which has been closer to 7th to 9th in the WCC at best.

            Williams have normally been towards the lower end of the midfield pack, and even if, using your argument, the car was capable of scoring 60 points – something that seems rather doubtful from the feedback of those who were present as early as the pre-season tests – that would still suggest a likely decline in the long term competitiveness of the team that fits in with the trend that has been seen from 2014 through to 2017. To throw so much blame on the drivers alone seems to gloss over what has been a fairly persistent trend since 2014.

          4. @freelittlebirds Sounds like you’re trying your hardest to gloss over a terrible car. I think the recent articles about how deep the problems at Williams go, says enough about the teams’ inability to help their drivers improve, since they don’t understand the car and are not capable of improving it themselves. I think you are splitting hairs to ensure we believe Stroll is lousy, and I’m just not ready to believe that. We all have no choice but to see how Lance does in a better car. If he doesn’t perform up to that car’s abilities then we’ll have something to confirm what was going on at Williams, but I think we have seen enough already to know it is splitting hairs to say another driver could have done much better in Stroll’s car. For now it’s all subjective and we’ll see next year how LS does. And how Kubica does.

          5. @Robbie Stroll’s qualifying wasn’t lousy… it was shameful. Of course, the Williams wasn’t a WDC challenging car but Alonso scored 50 points in the McLaren and that was a dog too. Leclerc scored 39 points in a car that could barely hit teens for both drivers combined.

            You don’t see anyone saying that the Sauber or the McLaren were the worst cars of the year. Leclerc doesn’t feel that way – after all, that dog of a Sauber promoted him to Ferrari after his rookie year. Alonso probably feels that way about his McLaren and for all we know he might have gladly driven a Williams to score more points.

            Bottomline – there is no way to tell what that car was capable of scoring – for all we know Williams had the potential to score 100 points last year or more lest we forget that the team might have been able to improve the car during the season if morale wasn’t at a rockbottom and they had better drivers.

            If Williams wanted to build a car that was 1 second faster with lousy drivers, then they should not be in F1.

            By my estimations (and I could be wrong – it could be higher or lower) 1 second costs $1 billion in F1 unless you are very lucky in your design.

      2. Woudn’t Kubica’s statements depend on his own performance in the car? After all, if Kubica performed at the same level as Stroll and Sirotkin, then he has to say that the car obviously has problems, otherwise he would have to ask for a Formula 2 drive. If he was 1 second quicker than Stroll, then he’d probably say nothing and he would have been driving the car in 2017 given Williams’ deplorable season (Sirotkin’s contract must have had a performance clause).

        Stroll pretty much proved in 2016 that he’s a dog slow driver in qualifying and he did so consistently in 2017 as well, although he was paired with a rookie this time. I would have expected some variance in performance between Stroll and Sirotkin if that were the case.

        Stroll spends more money on public relations on proving to us how his son is a WDC driver than Mercedes does :-) If I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually buys his own team with his friends so his son can continue racing in F1…

        1. @freelittlebirds, what he was complaining about were the technical issues that the car had – the problems with erratic stalling of aero components, the unpredictability of the response of the front end of the car on turn in to the corner, problems with the pitch response of the car under braking and so forth. I

          1. Just curious, what were Kubica’s times compared to Sirotkin’s and Stroll’s?

          2. @freelittlebirds, the headline single lap pace is a pretty bad metric to use without having any context to them, but if you are really insistent on using that, Sirotkin’s best time was a 1m19.18s lap on a set of softs, Kubica set a 1m19.63s on the super soft tyres and Stroll set a 1m19.96s time on soft tyres.

            Those headline times are, in and of themselves, pretty useless without the context of fuel loads, tyre condition, differentials in tyre performance, engine mode settings, set up preferences: basically, a headline time by itself is not really of much, if any, use.

            With regards to race stints, getting accurate stint length data for any team is difficult – you have to rely on third parties for that, and it seems that data was rather patchy at best.

            @robbie, I have to agree with you there – my earlier response seems to have disappeared, possibly because a post was deleted, but I do feel that perhaps Michael is tending to want to blame the drivers as much as possible to deflect attention away from a team that has performed fairly erratically at best ever since it had to rely on being an independent team, rather than a manufacturer backed team, from 2006 onwards, and generally has tended to be found between 7th to 9th in the WCC at best.

            There was a persistent pattern of declining competitiveness and performance from 2014 right through to 2017, with the points haul of the team steadily going down over that period and the team beginning to fall back in the WCC towards the sort of ranking they have more usually had (around 7th to 9th in the WCC).

            2018 isn’t even their worst points haul on record in recent years – you only have to go back to 2013 or 2011 to find seasons where they scored just 5 points. Indeed, between 2012 and 2013, the decline in the number of points scored was almost the same as between 2017 and 2018, even though their line up was argued to be stronger in 2013 compared to 2012.

            As to the 2018 car being something of a disaster, just consider that, during the season, we had Paddy Lowe state at the British GP, that the rear wing upgrade that they brought to Silverstone resulted in “such an extreme loss of downforce” when using DRS that Lowe stated that new rear wing was “not really safe” to use, forcing them to change the wing between sessions.

            When Lowe is having to publicly accept that some of the parts on the car were resulting in a design that was not just making it difficult to drive the car, but could make it fundamentally unsafe to use by throwing it into uncontrollable high speed spins, that suggests something was going seriously wrong during development of that car.

          3. 2015: 257 points, 3rd in WCC
            2016: 138 points, 5th in WCC
            2017: 83 points, 5th in WCC
            2018: 7 points, 10th in WCC

            Exactly – they jumped from 5th to 10th in 1 year when they signed drivers that were 1 second slower than the rest of the drivers on the paddock. Of course, Williams would drop to 10th spot. What did you expect?

            Of course, Kubica will blame the car if his times are on par with the other drivers. If he was much quicker, Williams would probably have replaced Sirotkin with him assuming they could jump up a few spots in the WCC and make up enough spots to offset the money he brought in. At the very least, we’d all know that Kubica was quicker than Stroll and Sirotkin. I doubt Kubica would have kept that quiet when he’s desperate for a race seat.

          4. @Robbie and you have every right to! :-)

            If it’s any consolation, Williams’ management agrees with you but that’s why they were last in the WCC.

            Williams will probably reserve the bottom spot until they come to the realization that drivers do make a difference in F1 – it’s ironic that some of the best drivers have driven for Williams and you’d expect the team to know the value of drivers. They should never have gotten rid of Bottas without replacing him with an equal or better driver.

            To replace Massa and Bottas with 2 drivers completely off the pace makes them very deserving of the bottom spot in the WCC (sentiments aside).

          5. @freelittlebirds Easy to play woulda, coulda, shoulda from your armchair. Easy for you to blame the drivers when the problems at Williams are rampant. Easy to blame the drivers when F1 has a problem with struggling less resourced teams put in an impossible situation by Bernie.

          6. @freelittlebirds, with regards to your earlier comments about the relative competitiveness of other midfield teams, at the start of the season, quite a few suggested that Sauber’s car wasn’t far off being one of the worst cars in the field – don’t forget that, in the opening races of this season, the two Sauber drivers were qualifying in the last two rows of the grid and, even when Leclerc did just about scrape into Q2 around four races in, that owed more to some of his rivals having to miss qualifying rather than the car itself being that much better.

            Yes, Sauber improved a lot over the season, but they had the resources to do so and were assisted by Ferrari in doing so – a substantial cash injection from their partnership with Ferrari, plus being able to recruit multiple senior ranking engineers from Ferrari (whom Ferrari allowed to get to work at Sauber right away) helped considerably.

            As for McLaren, whilst the car was uncompetitive at the end of the season – Alonso qualified 18th, 16th, 12th, 18th and 15th in the final five races – the car was a much more competitive package in the opening five races, where he qualified 11th, 13th, 13th, 13th and 8th.

            There is a reason why two thirds of his points total for the entire season came in the first five races, and that is because the car was a pretty solid midfield contender in those races. Alonso scored when the car was competitive, and when the competitiveness started declining, so did his results – as for Leclerc, similarly his success started as the car became more successful, and similarly we saw Ericsson starting to come good as well.

            The comparisons that Keith has produced are, in some ways, overly harsh on Ericsson when it neglects to mention that, in the final races of the season, Ericsson would have scored points if his car hadn’t failed (the disintegrating diffuser in Brazil and his breakdown in Abu Dhabi) – not to mention incidents such as Mexico, where the team actively sacrificed Ericsson’s race to help Leclerc (by leaving Ericsson out for longer to hold up Leclerc’s rivals, even though it ultimately cost Ericsson positions on track). Leclerc did well, but you seem to be looking at his performances in isolation, as if you want to make it look as if the driver alone was the reason for success, rather than looking at the wider performances of the team.

            You seem to be focussing extremely narrowly, even obsessively, at solely the 2017 and 2018 comparison and just want to keep repeating “it’s the drivers fault, it’s the drivers fault” – completely ignoring the fact that Williams’s performance had been plummeting before that, seeing their points haul drop by nearly 60% from 2014 through to 2016 alone.

            When Lowe admits to major fundamental problems with the car, why do you keep ignoring those statements? When the car is being slathered from end to end in aero tracer paint in a desperate effort to fix aero correlation problems, why do you ignore that? What is it that makes you so reluctant to want to criticise the design abilities of Williams?

            The team might have been great once, but that was decades ago – they haven’t won a championship for 21 years and won a grand total of one race in the last 14 years, and that was in an era when most complained that the sport was effectively random.

            In recent years, there has been nothing technically innovative on Williams’s cars that any team has sought to emulate – can you name anything that was pioneered on Williams’s car in the last five years that any other team thought was a genuinely great idea and have tried to copy?

            We’ve had reports of technical issues over multiple different cars, multiple different rule sets and with multiple different drivers, complaints of archaic working practises and resources being wasted – yet it seems that you want to brush off all of those criticisms. Believe it if you want, but you seem to be so hard headed and reluctant to accept any criticism of Williams – the very criticism levelled at Williams and the reason why they have been urged to finally snap out of their dreams of yesteryear and accept that it is not 1992, they don’t have Newey on board and they don’t have a works engine parter pumping money into the team and able to get them up the grid through sheer power alone.

  11. I don’t speak Dutch, perhaps that’s why I don’t see how a professional driver being paid millions can react “normally” to situations like the Ocon incident.

    Maybe it is normal. It is also assault.

    1. Hardly assault though, right? Heat of the moment from a sporting event and Max pushes Ocon three times in the chest while he smirks at Max, when he could have apologized and diffused it. As if he didn’t expect Max would be utterly livid, for he was utterly robbed of a win. Perhaps in the purest sense of the word that was assault, from the technically legal standpoint, but what was the physical harm done to Ocon? And did he lay charges? I think certain fans were/are way more outraged than Ocon himself was at the ‘assault.’

      1. Look up the definition of assault.

        Yes agree it was tame, and could have been handled better by both.

        But still assault.

        Therefore not acceptable, as the word normal would imply.


  12. I never understand such “pity comments”. What does he mean by “Williams don’t deserve to be at the back”? Of course they do – they fared the worst of all the teams competing in a championship over 21 races. Should they be at the back? No. Do they deserve to be? Yes.

    1. @thedoctor03 I think that is a fair comment, but I can understand VB’s sentiment as a former driver there. He must feel for the people that he once and perhaps still considers family, and we all know Williams has won Championships in the past, so I can understand the sentiment coming from the likes of Bottas too. It is a shame that BE’s F1 has seen a team like Williams brought down to this point. Not blaming BE entirely for it was up to Williams to make some better decisions (in hindsight) along the way too, but BE did move the financial and competitive goalposts on the smaller teams, particularly with the complex hybrid era.

    2. If Williams didn’t deserve to be dead last, it would have been McLaren who earned that position. By going for a complete new line-up you take extra risks so let’s hope 2019 isn’t another year of: “We have no idea what is wrong”. One thing is certain: details can spoil a great car, and make it behave mediocre at best.

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