Are McLaren going to be the new Williams?

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    Remember how Williams were a super team back in the 1980s, through to the nineties and early 2000s? Well, I have this sad feeling that McLaren might have already begun their downfall and are following the same path taken by Williams a few seasons ago.

    Is there still hope at the end of the tunnel or is all hope lost? I look at the leadership, the technical people and the drivers…and none inspire confidence that they can arrest the decline and return to the sharp-end of the grid next season or seasons thereafter.


    Well I think it’s a bit early to make such a predictions after one bad season, and I certainly expect them to fight for titles with Honda, but who knows, anything can happen.

    BTW, I still believe Williams is going to rise back to the top, sooner or later :-)

    Lucas Wilson


    yeah, by the year 2030, they should have got it sorted :-)


    My gut says they will be fine. Considering they have signed the top two aerodynamicists at red bull that work under newey, they obviously are doing everything they can to avoid the Williams situation…


    I doubt it (and hope not). Willams never really recovered from the departure of Newey and Renault (back in the late 90s) and the main reason I believe is that Williams remained a private team not much different than Jordan, Sauber or Minardi (tho with a bigger budget). Mclaren is today a more solid company and can absorb better a difficult season or two (and the consequent loss of prize-money). They are still able to attract major sponsors. However they need to react fast and change whatever needs to be changed and bounce back by 2015 the latest.


    I doubt it. One bad season doesn’t necessarily lead to the decline of a team. Particularly just before a major rule change which could shake up the grid anyway, and just before the return of their most famous engine partner.


    Doubt it. They have the money, the ressources, technical talent, and an upcoming partnership with Honda. I’m not so sure about their drivers though (Jenson was kinda weak last season in what was the fastest car on the grid, and Perez still hasn’t done much worthwile).


    One of the problems for a team like Williams is also that, they are funded by their own success. One bad year, means less money for next year and so on. With the huge costs these days, and not a lot of technical freedom it is hard to bounce back in that situation.
    McLaren has a pretty healthy side business going on. Not only selling loads of cars, but also supplying parts for racing cars all over the world. Their drive line up however, is a cause for concern. I doubt either of them has what it takes to win a championship.
    But a Williams like situation? No.

    Max Jacobson

    Williams do have a subside company in Williams Advanced Engineering @mads. http://www.williamsf1.com/Advanced-Engineering/


    Now you mention it, I do remember their flywheel KERS system being used in some Porsche racing cars for instance. But I don’t imagine that Williams makes quite as much money from the things they do, as McLaren. Whether that is just because every time someone at McLaren farts, we all have to hear about it, I don’t know.


    In retrospect, which season was the real beginning of the end for Williams?

    Bradley Downton

    @meander – That’ll be 2004 then… Haha


    I would say 2006 when BMW jumped ship to Sauber, but I don’t think it’s the end for Williams. They could return to being one of the top teams one day.


    In 2003, Williams were a top team, had the fastest car of the season, but poor reliability cost Juan Pablo Montoya the WDC that year.

    In 2012, McLaren were a top team, had the fastest car of the season, but poor reliability cost Lewis Hamilton the WDC that year.

    The next year, in 2004 and 2013 respectively, both teams dropped the ball despite their momentum from the previous year. Though mind you, Williams in 2004 was still a lot better than McLaren has been this season.

    In 2004, Williams had a poor season, but announced the new deal with Cosworth for 2006. Many people were very excited about the partnership comeback. People were expecting Williams to win championships again with the engine supplier that they won their titles in the early 1980’s with.

    In 2013, McLaren have had a poor season, but announced the new deal with Honda for 2015. Many people are very excited about the partnership comeback. People are expecting McLaren to win championships again with the engine supplier that they won their titles in the late 80’s and early 90’s with.

    In 2004, people laughed at the idea of the Williams team taking a severe nosedive like Lotus did, because Williams had way too much money at resources (at the time) to fall into oblivion.

    In 2013, people are ridiculing the idea of McLaren taking a nosedive into oblivion like Williams did, because McLaren supposedly have way too much money and resources for that.

    The comparison is parallel.


    No one in his right mind was expecting Williams win the championship with Cosworth. At best it was a small hope, but Renault/Ferrari looked so unbeatable at that time for anyone to take Williams’ chances that seriously. Besides, Williams already had a long time of obscurity before those years. McLaren has only had a year off by now. Plus the fact Williams was losing talent and money each season, while McLaren has increased both, and will further increase next season. Their cases are far less similar than you’re making them out to be.

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