A new era for WilliamsF1


Speaking in a telephone press conference on Friday, Frank Williams, said that his team, with a new engine supplier (Toyota), and a new title sponsor (AT&T) will begin a new era, and that he feels the team will be completely "invigorated" as it looks ahead to 2007.

"We are about to finish a very difficult year," he admitted, "but this agreement will refresh and invigorate the team. This partnership will lead us into what we hope will be a successful era. We are short of success recently, but we have every intention to re-emerge as a successful Formula One team."

Ironically, the WilliamsF1 Team's last win came here in Brazil in 2004, when Juan Pablo Montoya led home Kimi Raikkonen and Rubens Barrichello. Meanwhile, the most recent of the British team's 16 titles (9 constructors' and 7 drivers') was back in 1997.

This year, without the support of a manufacturer partner, the Grove outfit has struggled, leading to fears that Williams - basically the last of the privateers - might be heading the same way as its predecessors. However, Williams and his partner, Patrick Head, remain confident that the AT&T deal, together with several others in the pipeline, will end the fears. Indeed, as part of the WilliamsF1 revival, the team has announced a number of staff changes, including the recruitment of Renault's deputy head of aerodynamics Jon Tomlinson - who joins the team next March - along with (former) McLaren senior aerodynamicist Amit Chakraborty.

Ed Wood, the Grove outfit's new chief designer, who has been with the team for several months, is joined by John Russell, who, having previously worked for WilliamsF1 and Jaguar Racing, then headed off to Australia for three years in its V8 series.

"Īt's obvious that we are very disappointed with the results that we've had this year," said Head, speaking at the Friday FIA press conference. "Clearly, sometimes when you are in a pit with not much light at the top and everybody is working like hell and you're not making progress, you've nearly always got to bring in a bit of new blood.

"So we've had a few changes, both affecting our mechanical design side and our systems support and our aerodynamic programme. You can hardly expect a team having the sort of results we've had this year to sit there and change nothing."

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Published: 21/10/2006
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