The past two years at Williams have seriously tarnished Paddy Lowe’s once stellar reputation, for a second year running he and the technical team he heads at Grove have got their sums seriously wrong.
Last year, the FW41, the first car produced under Lowe’s watch at Williams was a well-documented disaster, probably the worst one ever built at their factory and, as a result, the once mighty team finished stone last in the 2018 constructors’ championship.
Now they have got their timing totally wrong, the FW42 was almost a week late. However, by all accounts Robert Kubica and George Russell appear to be happy with the car out the box – it is a far better piece of kit than its predecessor, but the delay in getting it out on track has already compromised their season.
For obvious reasons, Lowe took a while to emerge and face the music as the crisis became very public last week with the no show of his car until the end of the first test, but he finally did surface on Thursday when he spoke in an interview with Sky F1 in Barcelona.
Asked about the situation, Lowe explained, “I’m working very hard, there’s an awful lot to do and we’re working well as a team. Quite often the habit is to change people when things don’t work. But what I’ve also observed in Formula 1 is that the stronger teams are the ones that don’t do that.”
“Every problem within a team is an opportunity to learn. When you have an issue, you take that learning and you turn it into an advantage. I’m not aware of any different view.”
Lowe acknowledged that he has to lead the team out of the rut they are in, “Absolutely, but I won’t do it single handed. This is a team effort and we’ve certainly got some very strong people in the team. There’s a great job to be done and a great job of work and we certainly don’t underestimate the challenge there.
“We have ten fantastic teams in the sport these days, they are all highly professional and sophisticated – that was not the case in the past in Formula 1, so I think we should celebrate that. But inevitably it leaves some at the front, some at the back, and some in the middle and we’ll keep moving forwards as best we can.”
“But I’m confident we can do so. Given time, we can turn this team back to its days of former glory,” added Lowe whose future is sure to hinge on the success, or lack thereof, of the 2019 Williams, his second effort as technical chief with the team.