Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams insists recent struggles dropping the team to the back of the Formula 1 grid will not define its reputation.
Williams finished third in the constructors’ championship in each of the years 2014 and 2015, the start of the V6 turbo era, before following up with a pair of fifth-place finishes. The past two seasons, however, Williams has finished last, the team well off the pace in 2019.
But the deputy team principal says there are positive signs and believes the coming year will be a fresh step in the right direction.
“We have had two difficult years, but two difficult years doesn’t define a team. What I’ve seen in this team this year is an extraordinary level of resilience and tenacity, (and) also a willingness to put in the hard work to turn things around,” Williams said.
“I’ve always said that work is never going to be the work of a moment. It takes time. But we have undergone considerable transformation in the team in the past 14 months, and we are seeing the dividends of that work starting to pay off now.”
The 2019 car was late and missed the start of pre-season testing. While Williams is confident there will be no repeat, she admits it is crucial the team rectifies its errors even if 2021 offers a much better chance of fighting further up the grid.
“We have — as does every team up and down the paddock — targets for next year. We are pleased, and comfortable with those targets, and where we are at the moment; but it’s always a challenge, I think, for any team to meet the targets that it sets. It’s a challenge to get the cars ready for testing, but we have to get it right next year, and I believe that the FW43 — next year’s chassis — will be an improvement upon this year’s.
“That’s what we’re all working towards back at the factory, making sure that it absolutely is. We have to make sure we give George (Russell) and Nicholas (Latifi) a car in which they can display their capabilities.”