George Russell, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Williams apologises for, but will not explain, “embarrassing” delay to 2019 car

2019 F1 season

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams apologised to her team, their drivers and fans for the team’s late start to testing but did not offer an explanation for what had gone wrong.

The new Williams FW42 ran for the first time on track today, five days after its intended debut in a filming day. The team has missed two-and-a-half days of the eight-day pre-season test.

Asked by RaceFans when the team realised the new car wasn’t going to be ready on time, Williams said: “It became apparent quite late on actually that we weren’t going to firstly make the shakedown, and then subsequent to that not to make the first day.

“We thought we could get everything that we need to do together in order to make Tuesday. And then parts just weren’t coming through as we’d hoped that they would in the time that we hoped that they would or had in the plan. And so it transpires we didn’t make it until today.”

However Williams was not willing to explain how the team ended up so far behind schedule.

“I am not going to go into any detail as to why that happened. I don’t think that it’s appropriate to discuss the ins and outs of what went wrong. Completing that inquest anyway has not happened at Grove yet.

“We’re clearly aware of some of the issues. But it’s too early in the day to start discussing them in any detail and probably something that we wouldn’t do anyway. We need to resolve what went wrong or to analyse what went wrong and then to resolve it so that this doesn’t happen again at Williams.”

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Williams admitted she was embarrassed at the failure to live up to the multiple championship-winning team’s heritage.

“Clearly we’re not just disappointed but it’s embarrassing not bringing a race car to a circuit when everyone else has managed to do that. Particularly a team like ours that has managed to deliver a race car to testing for the past 40-odd years.

“So we can only apologise. I would apologise to our fans. I would apologise to all the people that have had to have the pressure really dialled up on them at Grove over the past few days to get everything ready just to get us to this point today.

“And probably mostly to George [Russell] and Robert [Kubica] who were looking forward to a car on Monday so that they could prepare and have the most amount of time possible to prepare ahead of the season. But they have been fantastic in this. They have been very understanding and very supportive.”

The first race of the season is less than a month away but Williams has no doubt the team will be fully equipped to take part. “I am certain that we will have two cars in Melbourne and a spare chassis,” she said. “That’s the work that’s going on now through our ops department to make sure that everything is on plan for that. It currently is.”

Williams also refused to address queries over the position of chief technical officer Paddy Lowe who oversaw the design of the team’s new car.

“I’ve been reading a lot of speculation in the media at the moment recently about Paddy’s position,” she said. “Right now all I’m focused on all the team should be focused on is the car and making sure the car is in the right place.”

Lowe was scheduled to speak to media at the Circuit de Cataluyna today but the session has now been cancelled.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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17 comments on “Williams apologises for, but will not explain, “embarrassing” delay to 2019 car”

  1. Sadly the car looks a year behind in aero… What is paddy Lowe doing?? Seriously it looks like it is trying to take elements from last year’s best cars, and not evolved them to this year’s standard. I think kubica should pull out of this mess, the way he pulled out of ByKolles Lmp1 last year, a team that also turned out to be a failure.

    1. Not a fair comparison. Almost all by Kolles has failed.

    2. Williams is the best what Kubica can get and will ever get from now on. If he doesn’t show enough talent and start sponsoring himself soon then the sponsors are going to pull out as well. Sorry.

    3. Sadly the car looks a year behind in aero

      If you look closely, there are a lot of interesting details on it that were not shown in the renders released a few days ago.

      1. I was thinking they probably had to reprogram their testing schedule and adjust their goals and objectives for the eight days, so not all components would be tested with the same pace as other teams.

  2. I feel bad for Williams and wish them all the best.

  3. So glad that if I miss a deadline at work by 2 days my job is not in jeopardy.

    1. Have to agree but I’ve been wondering about Rob Smedley and did he foresee this and decide to get out while he could.

  4. Internet ate my post so here’s short recap what I was going to write. I think this williams delay has been blown out of proportion. Lots of teams have had issues sometimes getting their cars ready. Red bull had issues in 2015 and sauber in 2016. Iirc force india had troubles some years ago as well. Honda engine has not been ready for race car driving even once during its pre-season testing testing. So far it looks williams will still drive 5 and half days out of the 8 maximum. Not ideal but not a catastrophe anyways.

    1. I agree with your point of view and was thinking the same.

      I think it’s been amazing how many miles all the other teams have managed to put in without much incident. Williams are being graded on a curve by the media. It’s a disaster relative to what others are doing, but not compared to the historical norm over the last 5 years or so.

    2. This. If the car is just average in Melbourne, they will have outperformed.

  5. That front suspension… it’s me or there is something strange here?

    1. Actually the suspension looks quite interesting to be honest. Car itself looks more like an evolution of previous year concept. It seems that this year car have shorter wheelbase and bit higher rake angle. Barge boards are different too. I’m curious who gonna be the worst team this year…

  6. This is why testing should be private and not broadcast live (apart from the fact it’s terminally dull).

    Teams should be allowed to have their pre-season issues with a certain level of privacy. By all means savage them when they get to Melbourne and are nowhere, but not before.

  7. I’m with @socksolid Why did Claire feel the need to apologise? it’s a difficult business this… delays happen, mistakes are made. Why is it an embarrasement? I think they are blowing it out of proportion. Missing two days is bad, but it’s not the worst scenario possible.

    Maybe, and more worringly, we’ve got to read along the lines… maybe they know the car is already quite bad, maybe even worse than last year, and they are apologising in advance…

  8. So Paddy Lowe could be shown the door? Claire hasn’t denied it.

  9. No need to apologise to us lot Claire, Just crack on!

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