The Williams team is but a shadow of what it once was, and over recent years they have gone steadily down the order.
But last year they had their worst season ever; ninth in the constructors championship and last of all the established teams. Williams used to be disappointed to not win the championship, now it seems they celebrate getting into the top ten.
But now sponsors are leaving the team. (AT+T ended the contract they had with the team, but they didn’t really get close to resigning) The car was fairly bare in 2011, there is a hope of Senna bringing in money to the team (OMG Senna name at Williams) but the novelty of Senna has worn off after two years, will he really attract that many sponsors?
Maldonado has PDVSA behind him, but that’s not enough to keep the whole team going.
The technichal team in Williams has be shuffled around like crazy in recent times, inconsistency is an absolute killer in F1.
This whole thing seems very pessimistic, but I don’t see Williams going anywhere but down. My guess for 2012 is that they will be in about the same place again, and they will go down further in coming years.
Their situation is not quite as dire as Lotus or Tyrell’s situation in the early 90s (or is it!?) Is there anything that can save Williams?
Well, the situation with Williams is interesting – with pay-drivers and their ventures in other projects, their financial standing might be safe the next decades. Sportive however, they’d need to be there when new regulations come into play sometimes.
For some reason I can see Williams becoming literally eternal (lower) mid-fielders…
I think Bottas is their last chance – everything seems to be geared towards keeping the team alive until this young talent can live up to the hype the team are giving him. But I see them trundling around in 9th or 10th, Bottas being good and then being snapped away and the team being sold.
That’s a good point, @icthyes. So long as they have two drivers bringing in lots of money and a reserve driver who has the potential to be something better, they have a future. It would be very foolish of them to put all their eggs in one basket, though. Bottas is just a rookie and can’t be expected to save one of F1’s most famous manufacturers on his own. What if he has a slow start? What if he’s not as good as the people at Williams think he is?
With so many changes at the team recently and an underwhelming driver line-up for next year, I think they’ll struggle once again. I won’t rule them out from climbing back up the field in the future, but it will be at least a few years down the line. One thing that could happen is that the Williams name sticks around in the sport even when the team in its current form has departed, a bit like when the Lotus name returned a couple of years ago. It would bring a certain amount of guaranteed attention for a new manufacturer trying to get into the sport.
I don’t think any of the two drivers are particularly good and I don’t think they will help in terms of morale. Sure, every person at Williams are trying their best, but the extra bit of leadership from a driver can make a difference. It’s on the way out for me.