Claire Williams admits she wanted to “crack open some champagne” after the meeting with Formula 1 owners Liberty Media that outlined its future vision for the sport.
Liberty met with all the teams on Friday in Bahrain and presented a blueprint for regulations beyond the end of 2020, including a cost cap in the region of $150 million, a cheaper and more simplified power unit and a revised revenue structure based on meritocracy. Having received the proposals and felt there is little room for negotiation, Williams admits she was left delighted by the future direction.
“I was extremely positive about today’s meeting, I have to say,” the Williams deputy team principal said. “I think we’ve all hoped for change under our new management and I think today they presented change. I think for a team like ours, based on what they presented, it was an extremely good day for us.
“I came back thinking let’s crack open some champagne, because from our perspective if we can get these new regulations through, and if Liberty/FOM do everything they say they are going to do, that they presented this morning, then from our perspective I know that Williams’ future is safe.
“That’s not to say that we were on the brink, or anywhere close, but with today’s sport and the way it is structured and with the financial disparity between teams, then the likelihood of Williams’ survival into the medium- and long-term was looking pretty bleak.
“Everything they presented from revenue redistribution to cost caps is absolutely everything that we want to see from 2021 and beyond, so I’m personally delighted with the proposals that they laid down. I know that in the past you can have these conversations and they come out and not necessarily anything is ever done about it, but I’m not sure these discussions are negotiable. That’s not the message I got anyway.”
Saying she felt the cost cap was “a balance figure” without confirming the exact amount, Williams also feels the collaboration between the FIA and F1 itself is encouraging.
“I believe it was a proposal rather than a wishlist. It was presented as such and I think that everyone felt it was a blueprint for the future. There are obviously elements in that proposal are under FOM’s control and others which fall under the FIA’s control – but I believe that FOM and FIA are working together and, as I’ve always said, if we’re going to protect the future of this sport then we need to work collaboratively. All three stakeholders.”