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We are at the dawn of a new era, says Capito

NEWS STORY
08/03/2021

Amidst the fanfare surrounding Aston Martin's 'legendary history' and McLaren's return to the better end of the grid, spare a thought for one of the most successful teams in the history of F1, Williams.

Nine constructors' titles - the most of any British team - 7 drivers', 114 wins, 128 poles, 312 podiums and 133 fastest laps.

Yes for the last three seasons the Grove outfit has finished bottom of the pile, last year failing to score a single point.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of where it all went bad, thanks to the 'intervention' of Dorilton Capital the name remains on the grid, even if the Williams family no longer has any involvement.

Thus far we haven't seen any sign of the obvious investment that is required to take the team forward, and while there have been a few worrying indications that such investment might not be forthcoming, certainly in the amount really needed, there have also been some positive signs.

The team still has the all-conquering Mercedes engine in the back, with a certain George Russell at the wheel, while in December the team announced the appointment of Jost Capito as CEO.

Though he barely got his feet under the desk when recruited by McLaren, Capito arrives at Grove with an impressive pedigree, and it is hoped that he can make his mark in the same way as countryman Andreas Seidl at the Woking outfit.

Though he knows the team faces a long, hard slog back to the midfield, Capito is confident for the future of the Grove outfit.

"Over the last month I began by first meeting and listening to the people, so I held individual meetings for forty-five minutes each with each of the top fifty managers within the team," he reveals.

"Sadly, I could not do this face-to-face due to the COVID restrictions," he continues, "but it was still hugely informative to do those via video calls.

"I also had 'town hall' meetings covering every single person in the team. The whole exercise reinforced to me that we have the talent in the company to build for the future.

"I have been very impressed by Dorilton," he admitted, "they are very good owners with the right mind-set and resources and they are very supportive to the team. We are at the dawn of a new era for Williams."

As the Grove outfit struggles at the bottom of the pile, it's easy to forget that in the first two years of the hybrid formula it finished third, before slipping to fifth and then last.

Though the budget cap is unlikely to be the great leveller F1 bosses were hoping for - Williams being one of the teams currently spending well below the cap - the rules overhaul in 2022 not to mention the new aerodynamic development regulations that favour the weaker teams should also help.

"Dorilton has invested a lot since they started, since they got the ownership and they are continuing to do this," he says. "If we come up with potential performance improvement measures, what we can do, we get the full support from Dorilton and this is absolutely fantastic and even better than I expected when I accepted the role. It's very much the areas that we will recognise and we will point out where we have a lot of potential to improve."

Looking ahead to this season he admits that 2021 will be all about transition.

"I would characterise 2021 as a transitional year for the team where our aim is to close the gap as much as possible," he said. "However, our resources are already very much focussed on 2022 and the new regulations. This is where we see the opportunity to make the first significant steps in competitiveness for Williams in our new era.

"From there we will build, but we are realistic. There is never a quick fix. What we are developing is a step-by-step, long-term plan to restore this great team to the front end of Formula 1.

"So while we will clearly still be racing as hard as we can in 2021 our focus is already very much on building for the future from 2022 and beyond."

Indeed, shortly after Capito's signing it was announced that from 2022 there will be an "increased" technical partnership with Mercedes.

"It helps us next year because we don't have to spend the time and effort re-designing our gearbox, that's a given," says team principal, Simon Roberts. "We can re-deploy that resource on other areas of performance on the car, which is part of the strategy, part of the rebuild that we're in."

In the short-term, in the wake of Friday's launch, fans were concerned at the lack of sponsor's logos on the FW43B. Not to worry, insists Capito.

"We are very much focussing on developing the brand, positioning the brand this year," he says. "We've got great partners on board and there are some to come very soon. So you can expect some announcements.

"In general, I think the new ownership and the strategy we have going forward is already attracting partners, partners that are in contact with us and in negotiations.

"It's too early to give you something but there will be some announcements soon."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Lakota, 08/03/2021 23:58

"This is the same script you hear every year from a new CEO . "

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

2. Posted by kenji, 08/03/2021 23:10

"@ Apexing...are you alleging that Williams are not practicing 'role diversity ?"

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3. Posted by Apexing, 08/03/2021 20:04

"@Matra123 Sounds like they have too many chiefs, and not enough Indians..."

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4. Posted by kenji, 08/03/2021 6:46

"While Williams are better resourced than they have been for some time it's wise to remember words are extremely cheap. It's what happens in the heat of the race that matters. "

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5. Posted by matra123, 07/03/2021 14:39

"In a relatively small company such as Williams, Capito says that he "...held individual meetings for forty-five minutes each with each of the top fifty managers within the team", it makes you wonder who is doing the actual work."

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