Williams designer Mike Coughlan has said that the team and its drivers shared the responsibility for not achieving their potential in 2012.
Coming off Williams' worst ever season in 2011, anything would have been an improvement for the Grove outfit, but the FW34 showed from the start of the season that it was a definite step-up on its predecessor, allowing both Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna to chase points from round one.
While the Venezuelan scooped a welcome, if unlikely, win at the Spanish Grand Prix, however, the season would ultimately contain more frustration that celebration, with results being lost to a combination of incidents and technical gremlins. Maldonado edged Senna in the final standings, largely due to the 25-point haul he gained in Barcelona, but was also guilty of most of the team's on-track issues.
Coughlan, however, refused to blame the former GP2 Series champion for the team's woes.
“We win as a team and lose as a team,” he explained to SpeedWeek
, “Of course, we've been through some difficult situations together and he will have learned from it, but it's not our style to point the finger at someone.
“It could just as well be argued that, if we had given him a better car, he would not have been battling in the midfield so often.”
Coughlan was among many changes implemented after the dismal 2011 campaign with Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello behind the wheel, and another, the return to Renault power, was largely credited with the transformation of the team's technical strength, even if the year yielded only a one-place improvement in the constructors' standings. Exchanging ninth for eighth in the pecking order was achieved on the basis of a 76-point haul that significantly bettered the five marks earned in 2011, as Coughlan revealed that the proven package – which replaced Cosworth power – allowed the team to concentrate on other aspects of the FW34's design.
“The biggest advantage has been the Renault engine, which was light, powerful and reliable,” he confirmed, “It meant we were able to focus entirely on aerodynamic development, and it paid off.”