The future of Williams hangs on whether Formula 1 can return to racing in 2020, according to its deputy team principal Claire Williams.
The 2020 calendar is being re-organized due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in lockdowns being implemented in many countries and the first nine races of the original schedule postponed or cancelled. While there is no certainty about when racing can resume, Williams said the importance of trying to get races in should not be underestimated.
“It is an incredibly difficult environment that Formula 1 finds itself in right now.” Williams told Sky Sports. “That is why we have spent so much time locked away in so many team principals’ meetings to do everything we need, to make sure all of us come out of this, at the end of this year, unscathed.
“A big part of that is when we can go racing again, particularly for a team like ours – one of the few true independents left. We don’t have the backing the majority of our competitors have.
“For us, going racing is actually critical this year, but as I have said, only when it’s safe to do so.”
Admitting she does not envy the challenge faced by F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey in trying and get a new calendar drafted, Williams said the sport is working well together to try and protect itself, both now and for the future.
“I think this an opportunity… and I think Formula 1 and the model within which we operate has been exposed as probably an unsustainable model when something like this happens,” she said.
“This is unprecedented, and this is crisis mode, and it is incredibly difficult to navigate your way through. Survival is critical, and we have to put the work in now, so that should a similar situation arise – God forbid – we are all much better protected, rather than having to scramble like we are having to do now.
“We are working incredibly hard, not just within Williams but within the sport as a whole. Formula 1 really does come together in these circumstances. The bigger teams understand the work they need to do to ensure the smaller teams’ survival. The smaller teams understand and sympathize with what we are asking of the bigger teams.
“What is disappointing is that [we don’t yet have] the new regulations that were coming in for 2021 which we’d got to a really good place with and which were going to really set a great future for all of our teams. I think if we had those regulations implemented two years ago, we might not all be as concerned as we are now. We are a little exposed at the moment. But I trust that we will get through this. I am eternally optimistic.”