This year’s major Formula 1 regulation change is perfectly timed for Williams, according to deputy team principal Claire Williams.
The team has new technical leadership from Pat Symonds which, combined with a switch to Mercedes engines, offers Williams the chance to make a big step forward. In 2013, the team finished ninth in the constructors’ championship and scored only five points, but while Williams still expects the established front-runners to lead the way she believes the new rules allow struggling teams to improve dramatically.
“It is very timely as if you don’t have that level of rule change it would be much harder to try and improve year on year,” Williams said. “I don’t think that the [competitive] form will change too significantly, but what it does offer is an opportunity for teams who are a second or more off the pace to look at what they are doing and look at doing things in a different way.
“That’s what we are trying to do and all of the changes we have made this year have been about making the most of the resources we have to embrace the rule changes for next year.”
MASSA KEY TO IMPROVEMENT
Williams also believes that new signing Felipe Massa will be key to the team improving in 2014. The Brazilian moves to Williams after eight seasons with Ferrari and is expected to be a driving force for the team.
“One of the things that we were so impressed by when we first started talking to Felipe is his enthusiasm to help build the team and drive performance,” said Williams. “He was so enthused by that [and] that is what we wanted. It’s about coming into the factory as much as he can, talking to the engineers all the time.
“So, yes, obviously, we expect him to do that at the racetrack but we also expect him to be back at the factory helping to develop. He is not one of those guys who just wants to turn up at the racetrack — he is an integral part now because of the experience he has. He should be able to help the process. He wants to muck in, get his hands dirty and everyone knows we love those kinds of drivers at Williams.”