Sir Frank Williams has blasted his team's qualifying performance for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps – a race the Grove-based concern has won on three occasions in the past, as well as victory at Zolder in 1981 – as 'embarrassing'.
The 2008 Formula 1 campaign has degenerated into an increasingly dispiriting one for the 16-time world championship-winning outfit, with Nico Rosberg's Australian Grand Prix podium finish in Melbourne – prompting some to tip Williams to emerge as 'best-of-the-rest' behind the top three teams over the balance of the season – proving to be a false down as the young German and team-mate Kazuki Nakajima have notched up just eight points between them in the eleven races that have followed.
That trend looks set to continue this weekend, as Rosberg lines up just 15th around the challenging Ardennes circuit – where last year he qualified fifth and finished sixth – and Nakajima a lowly 19th, on the very last row of the grid and beaten by the Force India of Adrian Sutil.
“This result is more than disappointing,” lamented team co-founder Williams in an interview with motorsport-total.com
. “It is embarrassing.”
The 66-year-old added that though the Toyota-powered FW30 does feature some updates in Spa, the bulk of the squad's efforts are now firmly focussed on 2009, when F1 is set for a significant overhaul of the sport's technical regulations.
“Essentially we are going to have to make the best of what we have got [for the remainder of 2008],” he added. “Our concentration is on 2009 – I hope we will look better then.”
A frustrated Rosberg ended up more than four tenths of a second slower than his nearest rival in Q2, whilst a similarly grip-less Nakajima was at a loss to explain his lack of pace.
“I didn't really expect us to struggle so much in qualifying,” inaugural GP2 Series Champion Rosberg confessed. “While we knew that Spa was not going to be our best track, being this far back is unexpected and very disappointing.
“In one respect, my car was okay from a balance perspective, but there was a serious lack of grip which meant I couldn't go any faster. Obviously looking ahead to the race, some rain would give me a small chance to achieve something; otherwise it's going to be very difficult.”