Williams: Immense disappointment is an understatement

Claire Williams has revealed how targets set out by her team have not been met this year instead they are enduring one of their toughest ever seasons, she cites budgets of the Big Three teams and the folly of sport as the reasons for their decline.

To repair the damage the ill-conceived FW41 has done to their current campaign, while stunting the future technical direction of the team under Paddy Lowe, it the team’s (once) highly rated chief designer Dirk de Beer who ‘jumped or was pushed’ as they say.

The Williams deputy team chief admits that winning was not a realistic target for the team, but being worst of all after six races was certainly not on the agenda, “We did not approach the season thinking we were going to win.”

“We are not naive. We all know deep down that competing with Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – with the constant progress they make, with the budgets, the staff and all the resources they have – is a colossal challenge.”

Typically before the start of the season, Williams would have targeted fourth place behind the Big Three, but a “radical new design” backfired dramatically as the FW$1 must rank as one of the worst cars produced at the factory.

“I think we had realistic goals, so to speak now of immense disappointment would be an understatement. But it’s not the end of the world. It’s sport and all teams have ups and down.”

Statistics show that Williams won a world championship title since Jacques Villeneuve was champion for them over two decades ago in 1997. Since then they remained among the frontrunners until the end of 2003 when they finished second in the world championship.

Since then the decline has been steady with small ups and downs on the graph, in 2009 they were ninth in the championship, eighth a year later and then ninth again in 2011.

There was a renaissance of sorts in 2014 and 2015 but never again were they the race-winning powerhouse they once were, a team that amassed 114 victories and 16 world championship titles.

This year they are tenth in the standings, their pay driver policy has also backfired as there is little experience to help dig them out of the hole, Martini title sponsorship stops at the end of this season and the unplanned loss of two senior technical staff members in recent months adds to their predicament.

Before Monaco Williams told reporters, “When you are winning it’s fantastic and when you are not then you have to re-organise and regroup, and it’s always about how you cope with those challenges.”

“At the moment there is a huge spirit within Williams to get this fixed. People can tune in and they can see our performance on the TV and then think: What on earth is going on at Williams?”

“But anyone who thinks that Williams is on its way out or in a spiral of decline or any other analogy you want to use, would be very wrong,” she added.

Big Question: Can Williams be Formula 1 world championship winners ever again?