Claire Willians, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Williams “heading in the right direction” with major update coming

2019 F1 season

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says the team has started to put its disastrous start to 2019 behind it.

Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix the team confirmed it had officially parted ways with former chief technical officer Paddy Lowe, who had been on a leave of absence since the end of pre-season testing. The team’s FW42 chassis was not completed in time for the start of testing and has lagged well off the pace since the season began.

Having been short of parts for its car in the opening races, the team has started bringing upgrades to its FW42 in recent rounds.

“We have a very capable technical management team in place that have been working since Paddy’s leave of absence started back in March,” Williams explained. “Our chief designer Doug McKiernan and Adam Carter use our head of design and then Dave Robson who runs engineering trackside and they’re working really well together.

“As everybody has seen over the past few races we’ve been able to bring new parts to the track and the majority of which have been adopted because they’ve shown greater levels of performance and we’re slowly closing that gap.”

A significant upgrade is expected to arrive at the German Grand Prix later this month. “The package that we’ve got coming prior to shutdown is predominately an aero-related package [and] we’re looking forward to seeing how it does.”

“So we’re making good steps in the right direction and that’s really nice to see,” Williams added. “Obviously it’s been incredibly difficult for everybody at Williams over the past many, many months now and it finally feels like we’re heading in the right direction again. So there’s a bit of more of a spring in everybody’s step so to speak.”

Robert Kubica, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2019
Williams says the team is “making good steps”
She confirmed the team was not able to make arrangements to replace Lowe until his departure had been formalised. That done, the team is considering its next steps.

“We’re happy with their technical management team that we have and we’re looking at the options that are available to us now and what would fit most appropriately with our structure,” said Williams. “So as soon as we’ve made a decision and we can make an announcement we’ll share it.”

Pat Fry, who as RaceFans revealed earlier this week is leaving his engineering director role at McLaren, is thought to be a possible target for the team.

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2019 F1 season

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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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  • 36 comments on “Williams “heading in the right direction” with major update coming”

    1. Lets hope they will 2 seconds with that upgrade so the midfield is all teams (except the 3 topteams)

    2. Well, considering their form in last 4 years… There is a lot wrong with their structure.

      For start they should adopt Haas model, get Mercedes parts, as much common to the champs and focus development on mandatory components.

      Then when they are 1s from Mercedes they can compete for 4th in WCC.

      Current team is just unsufficient, like Sauber was few years ago.

      Entire team structure and facilities need to change.

      1. Funny that you mention Haas as they seem to be heading for a meeting with Williams half the way right now.

    3. For start they should adopt Haas model,

      @jureo – That’s pretty much what Stroll senior wanted to do but Williams wanted to do things their way. If they come good then it’s an incredible success for Williams, but right now the signs aren’t all that positive.

      1. Yeah it’s a no-brainer. Mercedes puts in 400-600 M$ per year to develop their parts, they are competitive.

        Williams then tries to do their own thing, counting in on their ingenuity, so they can beat the works team? How many years? Their pride will destroy them. Williams has no road cars to finance their F1 failure, and who wants to pay a head strong leadership, that consistently underperforms?

        Like you say, Stroll wanted to change that around and found people who listen at RacingPoint.

        1. …and found people who listen at RacingPoint

          Haha, not sure that’s completely acurate, but yeah… the best way to find people who listen to you is to buy them out.

      2. The head of the fish is dead as a certain ex world champ said, they need a capable team head.

        1. They have a very capable team head, if only her father would stop interfering.

    4. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      4th July 2019, 8:17

      Wow, maybe now they can get in the fight for 18th or even 17th

    5. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      4th July 2019, 8:40

      Do you remember when we had that 107% rule? Maybe it’s still there. But I remember drivers who couldn’t race because they timed more than 107% of pole time. As far as I know, Williams never timed more than 107% this race. Should we conclude that it’s bad but we had much worse competitors years back?

      1. The rule is still there (note that it’s 107% of the fastest Q1 time), and Williams were never that slow, but, after the gap to the top, the next 6 teams are usually very close together, so then being 104-105% off the top gives a gap of well over a second @m-bagattini

    6. The best update they could make at the moment would be replacing Kubica.

      1. @tflb – while I agree that Kubica is being outshone by his teammate, what would that achieve, seeing as they aren’t in the hunt for consistent points?

        As long as Kubica can bring in funding and help in car feedback, let Williams focus on their other priorities. They aren’t a large/wealthy enough team to be juggling too many variables.

        Once they are in the fray with the rest of the midfield, they can look at a driver change (and enticing one might also be easier).

        1. @phylyp my thinking was more that in a crazy race, Russell has looked like he could take advantage – he has finished ahead of non-Williams cars on merit. Kubica on the other hand has been so far off. Lapped by his teammate at least once, almost again in Austria.

          Williams of course have major car issues to sort out. If Kubica brings money and that helps, then good. But I thought all his fans were going on about how he isn’t a pay driver and is there purely on merit?

          1. @tflb – ah, that’s a good point, a better driver can double their opportunistic chances. That makes sense.

            1. @tflb @phylyp Don’t understand how useful Kubica’s feedback is in developing the car. I think his on-track performances are completely secondary to that.

            2. Don’t FORGET, not ‘understand’!

              And I haven’t even started drinking yet.

            3. @shimks – get started. That’ll likely fix your typos ;) In honestly, I read your comment as “don’t underestimate”, so you’re all good. And no, I haven’t started drinking either to be misreading!

              I’m not sure if his feedback is still that relevant – he’s been complaining about car issues, the team have been unable to replicate it (but then again, this is Williams!), and – IIRC, but could be mistaken – when their two drivers swapped cars/chassis in a recent FP session, Russell didn’t encounter the problems Kubica was reporting.

      2. Or giving him the same car?

        1. Is there still merit to that claim? I thought they swapped cars/chassis in a free practice session, and Russell had no problems.

      3. How dare you. Kubica was driver of the day!
        (maybe not the driver of the day after, but still…)

    7. “As everybody has seen over the past few races we’ve been able to bring new parts to the track and the majority of which have been adopted because they’ve shown greater levels of performance and we’re slowly closing that gap.”

      I dispute this assertion.

      I’m not seeing Williams close the gap in any real sense, at all. They’re still pootling around the back with Russell a second slower than the next slowest constructor* in qualifying in Austria and the only reason why there were not 19th and 20th is because Mag was screwed by Haas. Kubica ended 3 laps down.

      Even if they have a massive upgrade of nearly 1s a lap, it’ll put them at the back of the midfield. That’s if the other teams do not improve. I don’t see this upgrade doing this, does anyone seriously think it will?

      They’re glued to the back this season and they darn well get a better structure in place at the factory for next season. For a team with such heritage and potential, their performance is completely unacceptable.

      *Kvyat was blocked in Q1 and the car was faster than the time posted.

    8. Unfortunately, directly to the deep.

    9. It is not only that the last 5 years they have some of the worst performing pay drivers, their performance has been nosediving but on top of that we have Claire telling us porkies every week about amazing team, great effort, upgrades coming – massive boost in performance and all kind of lies just to keep some kind of hype about Williams. I mean what else can they do to annoy F1 loyal fans who it seems they respect the Williams brand and history? Please, stop the lies!

    10. I really hope to see Williams get of the bottom. They have given F1 a lot, becoming someones B team I don’t think would be good for F1.

    11. So Williams blaming this car complely on Paddy?

      1. That’s the impression i got reading this article.

    12. What Williams could do with doing is bringing in a sporting director or a number 2 person in a similar setup to McLaren and they would do well if they recruited Pat Fry.

    13. FWIW, on the Missed Apex podcast, Joe Saward hinted at Jost Capito for the role of Paddy’s replacement.

    14. tony mansell
      4th July 2019, 15:24

      What the hell happened there. We wont be told for many years but from podiums to recruiting one of the main men from Mercedes to 3 seconds off the back of the grid and no car to test with. Paddy Lowe’s book should make interesting reading, if he’s honest.

    15. Whenever Claire talks I just get irritated. She takes 10 sentences where 1 or 2 will do. PR corporate buzz word nonsense. I just listen to George Russel these days for Williams updates. He has brevity and comes across as genuine, unlike Claire.

    16. It really hurts me to see Williams at the back of the field… I grew up watching the team at the front, with the top drivers wanting to be driving for them.

      I don’t think they should be following the Haas model, it’s not really done them huge favours, but, hoping they can find some of their former form…

    17. Bring back Compaq – HP to Williams, Marlboro to Ferrari and Vodafone to McLaren. That’s what F1 needs the most.

      1. Obsolete computers and lung cancer? We can do without.

    18. Obsolete computers and lung cancer? We can do without.

    Comments are closed.