Williams F1 chairman Adam Parr has admitted that there will be changes made at the Grove team, although he stopped short of confirming rumours that technical director Sam Michael could be made the scapegoat for its poor start to the season.
The venerable outfit approached 2011 hoping to continue its recent upward progress, and was encouraged by early testing performances from its radical FW33, which features easily the most compact rear end in the sport. However, despite veteran Rubens Barrichello topping the times in the winter, neither the Brazilian or rookie team-mate Pastor Maldonado has been able to challenge for points, and Williams is currently sitting alongside Team Lotus, Marussia Virgin and HRT as the only scoreless outfits.
Indeed, China represented the team's first finishes in 2011 and, although Sauber endured a similarly frustrating start to 2010 and bounced back in the second half of the season, Parr admits that Williams will have to make 'some tough decisions' in order to pull through and re-establish itself as a midfield contender.
"We recognise that things have to change and so the message is 'we will be changing things'," he told Reuters
, "We will get on top of this season as we did last year, when we started very poorly and clawed our way back up, but we can't start where we are starting every year. We are not going forwards so we are going to have to make changes to make sure we do move forwards."
Parr denied that a lack of budget was at the root of the team's woes, despite several major sponsors having departed since 2010, but acknowledged that perhaps it had not exploited its experience as well as it could have.
"It's not lack of budget - it can't be lack of budget," he said, "There are other teams out there who have resources certainly no greater than ours who are doing a better job, [which is] completely unacceptable.
"We've done some very good things, but maybe we've focused too much on the things that we were doing well and we've not been thinking brightly enough about other opportunities. We haven't done an exhaust blown rear end, and there's a big lap time in that. There are other areas where we've just not been smart enough. We're not lacking in creativity or ambition, but it's not enough - there are other people who are being more creative and more ambitious."
Parr also played down suggestions doing the rounds in the Shanghai paddock that technical director Sam Michael's position may be under threat, even though he accepted that there may have to be changes in the team's organisational structure.
"Sam is an exceptionally gifted, hard-working, clever and dedicated person," he insisted, "The last thing that he needs is anyone else telling him where we are or whether he should be worried or not. If Sam thought that the right thing for the team is for him to stop, he'd stop tomorrow. He wouldn't even quibble, he will do whatever is necessary for the team.
"You can't change what we are doing without changing people. There are three things you can do - you can change organisation and structure, people can come and people can go - [and] I think we have to look at all three. I think it's organisation, bringing in some talent and, if we have areas where we are not performing, then we have to look at it."