28 January 2014
Williams ‘has to make progress’ in F1 2014
Claire Williams admits that there is no way to go but up for the family F1 team in 2014.
Claire Williams admits that her father's eponymous F1 team needs to bounce back from its 2013 disappointment as the sport embraces a new technical future.
Speaking to the team's official website as the engineers worked to prepare the all-new FW36 for its official debut in testing at Jerez, Williams emphasised the need to finish higher than the ninth place the former champions occupied last season, particularly with the playing field being somewhat levelled by the introduction of new regulations governing engines, energy systems and aerodynamics.
“We have to make progress – I think that's the single most important message for this year,” she noted, “We finished ninth in the championship last year and that was disappointing for everyone at Grove. We all know we have to do better – there is no alternative.”
The Williams team has been one of the more active over the winter, making key changes that, despite being headlined by the arrival of 2008 world championship runner-up Felipe Massa and new engine partner Mercedes, also included others vital to the design and engineering process.
“The majority of changes have come from augmenting the technical team we have,” Williams confirmed, “We have a really strong and capable group of designers, aerodynamicists and engineers, but it became clear that we needed more people to support the people that we have, and to structure the team in a different way.
“With the new engine regulations coming in this year, we also needed to look at our options and decide which package was best for our team. We took the decision to go with the Mercedes power unit and to enter a long-term partnership with them, which we are really excited about.
“We have also made some changes to the way we operate commercially and refreshed who we are and what we look like. This is a new chapter for our team and everything we have done is for the sole purpose of moving us back up the grid.”
Despite the blow of losing Pastor Maldonado and his PDVSA sponsorship to Lotus, Williams revealed that the winter had been relatively successful on the commercial side – with a raft of new and existing backers to be revealed in the build-up to the Australian Grand Prix – but acknowledged that it was now important to make sure the new car got as much track time asp possible.
“Because of the regulation overhaul, the first test at Jerez is one of the most important pre-season tests that the has had in a number of years,” she claimed, “This car is a complete revolution; it's not an evolution from a previous year, so the engineers and drivers are going to be under a considerable amount of pressure.
“We will be concentrating on system checks to make sure everything is functioning as it should and then working towards reliability, which is going to be a potential game changer, certainly in the early races of the season. It's going to be fascinating to see where everybody is over the coming weeks.”
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