[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] WILLIAMS RACING: CRISIS MODE

It’s nothing short of crisis for Williams, as the squad heads to the first race off the pace and without a technical boss.

Paddy Lowe has been stood down as chief technical officer after a production error forced the historic British team to miss two and a half days of the first test, an embarrassing gaffe indicative of far greater issues.

The squad also finished pre-season testing slowest of all 10 teams with George Russell’s best lap more than half a second behind Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, all set on the softest C5 tyre. 

But it’s thought Williams is actually further adrift than those times suggest, with the gap to the rear of the midfield reported to be around 1.2 seconds.

The lack of running has also impacted on the comeback of Robert Kubica, who says he’s only 20 per cent prepared for his F1 return.

“I haven't done longer than a 15-lap run,” Kubica said. “There’s a lot of question marks. But, that's the reality, we cannot change it.”

And while Williams is now without a technical director at the dawn of the new season, it will at least move forward with a better balanced car than its nightmare predecessor, the compromised FW41.

SOUNDBITE (English) CLAIRE WILLIAMS,
DEPUTY TEAM PRINCIPAL, WILLIAMS:
“Finding yourself in P10 in the championship clearly indicates that you’ve probably got some key issues at play and some key areas of weakness - and for us it’s very much a journey.”

And that journey now begins again with the search for a new technical leader, following on from a major restructure at the historic team… 

SOUNDBITE (English) ROBERT KUBICA,
F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“I think Williams is trying to improve the things and to learn from the past. It’s a great place, it’s a historical team. They [have] achieve[d] so much, and so they are capable of delivering [results]. It’s just I think a matter of putting the puzzles together.”

And while the strength of Kubica’s comeback will be the biggest ongoing news story of the year, his input will now be more important than ever offering development expertise with a pragmatic approach.

SOUNDBITE (English) CLAIRE WILLIAMS,
DEPUTY TEAM PRINCIPAL, WILLIAMS:
“He has been an extraordinary force within our team, a force for good and a force for driving change. Robert [Kubica] is an incredibly intelligent racing driver, he knows what it takes from an engineering perspective to get a strong race car to the grid.”

That intelligence and experience will be matched with the pure, raw pace of 2018 Formula 2 champion George Russell, who’s also ready to step up as a driver groomed by the slick works Mercedes operation.

SOUNDBITE (English) GEORGE RUSSELL,
F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“It’s an incredibly exciting year ahead, not only for myself but also for the team. I think there’s a big culture change moving forward into 2019 and to be at the helm of that is really exciting for me and it fills me with a lot of pride to be a part of this journey and seeing what history we can make together.”

Williams is now well behind the eight ball with its pace and development, its first task modifying part of its front suspension and mirror design to make sure the car is legal in Melbourne.

… which is yet another obstacle to moving forward. 

And that has to be the focus for Williams, forget about the history, forget about the world championships, forget about all the race wins; just take it step by step for now and make progress.

Starting from round one in Australia…