Claire Williams, Williams, Albert Park, 2019

Williams admits they’re slower than they expected

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams admitted the team are further off the pace at the Australian Grand Prix than they expected to be.

The team had a troubled start to its 2019 F1 season as it failed to complete its first FW42 chassis in time for the start of testing. Although it has two cars running this weekend Robert Kubica revealed yesterday the team is short on parts which is forcing them to run more conservatively.

At the end of final practice the quickest Williams was 1.3 seconds off the next-slowest car. Williams admitted she expected her team to be closer to the pace than that.

“It’s not been the start that we hoped for but probably one that we expected,” she told Sky. “We knew that it was going to be tough. We knew that it was going to be difficult from the outset.

“I don’t think we thought we were going to be as far off the pace as we are and that is going to be difficult for us to try and claw back.

“But that’s what we do at Williams, we fight and we keep on fighting and we won’t give up until we make changes and to deliver greater performance. And we need to do that because we’ve got great drivers in George [Russell] and Robert.”

The team is not likely to be in danger of failing to qualify for the season-opening race under the 107% rule. Russell’s best lap of 1’25.944 in final practice was one second faster than 107% of Lewis Hamilton’s pace-setting time of 1’22.292.

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2019 Australian Grand Prix

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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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  • 25 comments on “Williams admits they’re slower than they expected”

    1. Williams 4 seconds off the pace: P19 & P20. Team boss admits the team is slower than (even) they expected (…) “But that’s what we do at Williams!” Claire said.

    2. It would have been quite hard for them to hide that fact.

    3. Man.. After last year.. I thought the only way for Williams is up, as things couldn’t get any worse for them. I’m actually surprised that there was a level below ground zero.

      1. And several ones further down @todfod
        There’s no real way to know how deep the rabbit’s hole goes…

      2. @todfod You & me both. If I were emotional I might be crying right now. After last year’s farce of a car I didn’t think Williams could do a worse job, but here we are. I hope we’re not literally witnessing death throes.

      3. @todfod – I was slightly hopeful that they might have fixed their car issues, but was more concerned about the drop in their funding impacting their 2019 programme – losing Martini, losing Stroll, and dropping to 10th in the WCC. Sadly, it does seem like the latter has occurred, and worse still, they seem to be the only backmarkers, which makes their TV coverage that much lower as well.

    4. Jeez. It must be embarrassing to work in that team. Being the backmarker for an unlucky year, OK things happen, probably a one-off, fine, not the end of the world. But being so bad as last year and now managing even worse, with no spares either. What is even the point in that? Just to exist? And it’s not like they are a major team with cash to spare. It’s only likely to get worse the next year (if there is one). They should be looking at making MAJOR changes in the team. I mean as in change of managment and even changing ownership if they want to continue for more tan a year.

      1. Steveetienne
        16th March 2019, 7:17

        Williams are dead. I predicted 3 years ago they would be bought out within 5 years. It’ll be interesting to see who buys them out.

      2. @renee

        I feel Williams will be taking a long and hard look at the way they go racing in F1. I’m pretty sure they’ll be contemplating whether to go down the Haas route. Maybe stop manufacturing and designing your own car, and start sourcing as many parts as possible from Mercedes. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to pull off what Haas is doing, and I’m sure if Williams became a Mercedes B team, they would be fighting to top the midfield instead of being a second down on the team in 9th place.

        Having said that, I’m not a fan of midfield teams becoming the B teams of the Big 3, but I can understand why that approach could work for some of them in F1 currently.

        1. They’re holding on by the fingernails for the new regulations to be announced, and perhaps long enough to be implemented if they look favourable with budget caps and restrictions on customer / B teams.

    5. Yes, this isn’t the start of the season Williams wanted even though this is the start of the 2019 season. It isn’t how Williams ended last season that’s important, it is how they recovered for this season. I think they need to work towards ensuring their cars finish ahead of most of their competitors.

    6. Must be because I haven’t had enough coffee yet, but first time I read this as “But that’s what we do at Williams, we fight and we keep on fighting UNTIL we give up”. Weird.

      1. @bobec,

        Go and drink your coffee, then read the quote as it was said, (see below) not what you decided to post

        “But that’s what we do at Williams, we fight and we keep on fighting and we won’t give up until we make changes and to deliver greater performance. And we need to do that because we’ve got great drivers in George [Russell] and Robert.”

    7. Michael Brown
      16th March 2019, 7:47

      They say that the fish rots from the head – and Williams’ form is certainly on the nose , which is a real shame.

      A few years ago , when they were up front in qualifying , they failed miserably in the races. They’d forgotten how to win then, but now they’re resembling an elder person with Alzheimer’s or the like.
      A sad shadow of their former glory days

    8. She’s had her time, but now she needs to go.
      Under her that team has slipped backwards … slowly initially due to the legacy of others, & recently at a scary speed as those other influences have faded.

      1. Stop Frank being allowed anywhere near the team and she would actually do quite well. She is constantly undermined by him. Williams still seem to see him as the big boss which devalues what she can achieve.

    9. “Russell’s best lap of 1’25.944 in final practice was one second faster than 107% of Lewis Hamilton’s pace-setting time of 1’22.292.”

      No, the 107% time would have been 1:28.052, so he was 2.108 seconds inside that.

    10. Williams still enjoy a bit of the special money that the historic teams get. But in 2020 that looks like it will end. Without any big sponsors life will get very much harder for Williams. I hope they don’t press on until they collapse and can’t pay their staff. Better to sell the team now while it still has some value.

    11. Are they using this years engine?

    12. Should have sold those shares to Newey all those years back.

    13. Magnus Rubensson (@)
      16th March 2019, 15:27

      With Felipe Massa as no1 driver in 2017 Williams finished 5th in the standings.
      Massa scored points in 13 races out of 20 (finishing between 6th and 10th).

      Williams then dropped to 10th in 2018 after opting for two pay drivers.
      But without a proven, experienced top driver like Massa… the drop was quite substantial between 2017 and 2018.

    14. Frank and Claire, you must both walk away and let modern, effective and professional managers take over. The day of the dilettante is gone in F1.

      No more controlling from a distance Frank. No more interfering in details, staffing and systems because it’s “my team”. Just move away, cut all ties, and enjoy a new prosperous era for Williams as long as you take your daughter with you.

      1. That’s my thinking too.

    15. Everything dies.

    Comments are closed.