Abu Dhabi finally brought an end to a nightmare campaign for Williams’, one of its worst-ever across 41 years – the historic British squad finishing with just seven points, and last in the standings.
It’s a situation reminiscent of its most recent dark days in 2013 and 2011, the only other years it finished with single digit totals…
In both years, it finished ninth with five points, despite different driver line-ups and engine suppliers: first with Cosworth, then Renault before moving to class-leading power in Mercedes.
The switch not only provided the benchmark powerplant, but stability as the squad’s fifth engine supplier since Williams parted ways with BMW after the 2005 season, and was also part of a far greater shift at Grove for 2014.
SOUNDBITE (English) CLAIRE WILLIAMS,
DEPUTY TEAM PRINCIPAL, WILLIAMS:
“We’ve had to make some really significant changes internally at Williams, across the board, really. Nothing has been left untouched in order to ensure that our performance improves.”
Williams is completing a similar wide-ranging shake-up for 2019, with a cultural shift to provide a better workplace for its employees.
…as well as an all-new driver line-up, comprising Formula 2 champion George Russell, the Mercedes protégé already re-energising the squad.
SOUNDBITE (English) GEORGE RUSSELL,
RESERVE DRIVER, MERCEDES:
“Ever since I was a child, all I’ve ever dreamed of was Formula 1. So to finally get this opportunity, joining the grid alongside drivers who I’ve looked up to for so many years, is extremely surreal.”
Alongside him will be Robert Kubica, the Polish racer finally making his fairytale comeback after eight years away. Abu Dhabi 2010 his last race.
Both drivers will be hoping for a car better than the FW41, with the squad well aware of the cooling miscalculation it made in the wind tunnel that destroyed its aero package.
But, it’s going to be a stressful few months ahead, as the squad waits to learn if all the excruciating effort has paid off.
SOUNDBITE (English) PADDY LOWE,
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER, WILLIAMS:
“Finally, you get to the hour of qualifying in Australia, where you really find out how did you do, where are you in the exam? That is the exam, that hour.”