Site logo

"It's time for change," admits Williams

NEWS STORY
28/06/2020

We previously reported that Williams has the necessary funding to continue racing into 2021, and that contrary to some of the more pessimistic speculation in the media the news that the team is looking at a number of options going forward - including selling-up - is not all bad.

Speaking to Forbes, a source insisted that the decision to sell a 75% stake in its Advanced Engineering division, and the subsequent £30m investment from Michael Latifi didn't mean that Williams was on the brink of going out of business but rather part of a deliberate strategy going back to the start of 2019.

"Williams had gone through a very difficult 2018 and was well aware that 2019 had started badly," said the source. "If your pre-season tests and your first races go a certain way, by the middle of March you know whether you are going to be mid-field, at the front or way at the back.

"Unfortunately the die was cast to some extent so Williams knew it needed to take action. It had to take a long-term view on this and that is precisely what it has done," they added.

Indeed, it would appear that even the shock announcement last month that Williams was considering a "potential sale of the whole company", wasn't as bad as it sounded, for the Grove-based outfit it was a means to enable it to look at the various options available, as Claire Williams admits.

"We started talking about the need for new investment last year," she tells Autocar, "before the virus was even on the horizon.

"We decided that if we were ever going to punch our weight again we needed support beyond what we could raise from the F1 prize fund or sponsorship," she adds.

"Our overriding desire is to find the best outcome for the team. If that means a full sale, it's okay. If it means sale of a majority as a path to a full sale, so be it. Or if it means someone wants to come in and work alongside us, that's fantastic.

"We could probably scrabble the funds together to keep going, but we've been doing that for too long," she admits. "It's time for change."

Of course, change is already coming... in terms of the budget cap and a total overhaul of the prize money distribution, which currently sees, courtesy of the Constructors' Championship Bonus (CCB), Red Bull receive a minimum $37m, McLaren a minimum of $33m and Ferrari $30m before they've so much as turned a wheel, all because of the number of races they won in the four seasons prior to 2012, the year in which the CCB was introduced.

"The current situation is completely changed by the new regulations," says Williams. "And funnily enough, the ante has been upped further by the way the virus has affected us all. We've come together to realise we have to do a better job of creating parity within the sport and of getting costs down."

Along with a new financial structure, the sport is introducing a whole raft of technical regulations. Originally planned for 2021, the pandemic has meant their delay until 2022 and in the meantime the teams will continue to use their 2020 cars.

Other than the fact that this will make "an enormous difference" in terms of spending next year, moving forward as teams are forced to manufacture more of their own components, Williams believes that her team's independence will be a benefit as its rivals are forced to secure similar levels of IP, expertise and equipment.

"Until now, being an independent hasn't made a whole lot of sense," she admits. "But we believe, and thankfully so do the new administrators, that doing your own design and engineering should not be allowed to be a disadvantage."

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by estoril85, 29/06/2020 11:49

"@willy56 Are you saying that a husband and father can be a team principal but a wife and mother can not? Comes across as a little bit old fashioned and sexist even though I don't think you meant it that way! I like Clare, she's a racer like her dad and the present problems within the team, which it is slowly recovering from , probably stem from the disastrous period with Paddy Lowe , which on paper looked like it was a great thing for the team when he joined but sometimes things don't work out. Williams has always been a team that spends wisely so hopefully with the recent cash injection the team will move forward."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Editor, 29/06/2020 6:53

"@ 4-Wheel Drifter

Re: "If Britain were as vibrant skilled as Boris Johnson claims, and as able to compete with the E. U. and triumph, Williams would have no difficulty raising enough money."

The lack of "vibrant skill" you refer to in Britain, doesn't appear to have hampered Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Racing Point or Renault, and even Haas has a facility here. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by 4-Wheel Drifter, 28/06/2020 23:15

"Hmm. I can't claim to have witnessed Clare Williams "speaking to the troops," and so I can't comment on her performance out of camera range. But I can speak to the team's performance over the years since she assumed the team principal role. When your budget is as limited as hers has been, no amount of motivational speeches can overcome an underperforming race car. And where do underperforming race cars come from? Not underperforming team principals but from a lack of funds to design, test, and deliver a quick machine out of the box and ready for the team and drivers to tune into a competitive machine. We've watched recently a powerful a team as Ferrari struggling to compete with Red Bull and Mercedes and have reason to believe that the team principal ihas been unable (or prevented)from shaping things up as required. But I reckon if Clare had Ferrari's budget not only would you see Williams up front, you'd see that a team principal is a rather more nuanced business than that of a drill master "rallying his troops." Williams' difficulties are not with the team but the country they race for. If Britain were as vibrant skilled as Boris Johnson claims, and as able to compete with the E. U. and triumph, Williams would have no difficulty raising enough money. Alas, instead, we're watching them emulate the myopic and suicidal United States and its paralyzed political / commercial collapse. In the truncated 2020 F1 season, though, almost anything can happen. Let's put our prayers with Clare and maybe we'll see a car worthy of Russell and a season worthy of Williams. "

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Willy56, 28/06/2020 21:37

"I hope Williams can put together the necessary funds and investors to keep running cars into 2021 and beyond as they are a storied team with a long proud history.
But, and it's a big but, Clare Williams needs to step down as acting team Principal and hire a truly strong, motivated leader to take the team where it needs to go.
Clare does not have the skills to be the leader, no matter how long she watched Frank do the job, to great success.
If you have ever had the experience of watching and listening to Clare speak to the troops, you will see what I mean.
Clare is a Wife, Mother and F1 Team Principal and each job is a full-time position and if you try to stretch yourself to do all three, you will fail at all of them. I can't speak to her as a Mother and Wife, but I can see her lacklustre performance at Williams.

"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2021. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms