Williams are enduring the worst season in their illustrious history, their cars anchored to the back of the grid and way off the pace but deputy team principal Claire Williams is not writing the season off despite the turmoil at Grove.
The departure of Paddy Lowe earlier this year, when it was realised that his second car was worse than his first last year, left the team in the lurch and on the back foot since the season began with the hopeless piece of kit that is the FW42.
Williams told reporters during a press conference in Monaco on Thursday, “Nothing is a write-off at Williams, ever. It never has been and it never would be, regardless of where we are. It’s just not our mindset a Williams.”
“We don’t write a season off just because we aren’t doing well. For us, at the moment, we’re really looking at ’19 and ’20 very much as almost two seasons, where it’s just evolution and development and we’ve just got to keep bringing performance at each and every race.”
“We’ve definitely seen that we’ve done that, we’re closing the gap to the ninth-placed team and we’ve got to keep doing that as the season progresses and we’re looking at obviously what 2020 looks like from a development perspective, what we’re going to be focusing our resources and attention on, to make sure that we certainly do a whole lot better job next year for us.”
“And then again, we’ve got to look at ’21 and make sure we’ve got the right resources in place and the focus in place to take advantage of that situation. Clearly, as everyone knows and have talked about a lot, ’21 could be a really great opportunity for us with the cost cap that’s coming and with whole new technical regulations.”
As for her team’s dire season, Williams said, “It wasn’t the start to the season that we envisaged – but I think we anticipated what was coming. Yeah, I definitely feel that we can see some light at the end of the tunnel now.”
“I think probably just from the time sheets and the last race in Barcelona, we demonstrated that we are closing that gap. It may be slow but we all know that it takes time to bring performance to your car.”
“There’s definitely a lot of good work going on back at the factory that people may not necessarily be seeing yet. The aero team are doing a great job finding performance in the tunnel and we’re going to be bringing that to races over the coming weeks and months with a package coming mid-way through the season that we will hope will bring some significant performance to us.”
“Yes, there are definitely signs of improvement. I think there’s a certain positivity in the team at the moment. Morale is still pretty good, and that’s all we can ask of everyone: just fighting hard, not giving up and keep on bringing performance to the car,” added the Williams team boss.
After the first day of practice, on Thursday, in the build-up to the Monaco Grand Prix, George Russell was 19th, 3.9 seconds shy of the top time at the end FP2 with Robert Kubica a tenth further back, slowest of all.
The pair half a second shy of next best, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll in 18th