Williams Formula 1 team 'blinded' by its 2014/15 success

Williams has admitted it was "blindsided" about its need to change by the strong form it showed at the start of Formula 1's turbo hybrid era

Williams Formula 1 team 'blinded' by its 2014/15 success

Currently last in the 2018 F1 constructors' standings, Williams is undertaking a deep analysis of its infrastructure.

It believes part of the answer stems from some long-standing cultural issues that had not been addressed during a last major restructuring back in 2013.

Back then the team had a rethink of its driver, engines, personnel and budget - and its efforts paid off as it finished third in the constructors' championship in both 2014 and '15.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams believes that success disguised the problems now hurting the squad.

"I think one of the key things we missed, and as a result of probably not having the time to do it, was addressing some cultural issues that we have within Williams," she told Autosport.

"We have to make sure it is a great place to work. Also that it is one that enables our employees to thrive, gives them everything that they need in order to do that and to do the job that we ask them to do. And so that is one of the pieces that we are really focusing on.

"I am a huge believer that the talent you have drives the success that you have, so we are looking internally rather than looking externally to make sure that we have everybody within Williams working in the way that they need to work, and that is a big piece of the puzzle that we didn't do last year.

"Probably we were somewhat blindsided that the success that we managed to achieve very quickly in 2014 from doing the work in 2013, and that was a big turnaround.

"The subsequent years of success blinded us to that issue that we probably had, so now we are addressing it."

Williams is set to take a financial hit with the imminent loss of title sponsor Martini and driver Lance Stroll, plus a big drop in constructors' championship earnings, but the team remains optimistic.

"It is definitely not the end," added Williams. "All sports teams experience situations like we have had to endure this year, I don't think it is unusual.

"It is obviously extremely unfortunate and it is a very difficult process to go through when you find yourself in this position. Of course you wonder what is going to come next for us.

"But I don't want to use the word 'cautiously' optimistic. I am wholly optimistic that we are doing everything and that we can get out of this.

"We have to be realistic as well. Going from P5 to P10 doesn't come about because you have got a couple of issues. It comes about because you have a handful of them, if not more than that.

"We've been analysing what went wrong with this car, and through that process other problems have raised their ugly heads. And we have thought about other things that we need to do in order to drive change.

"The team is going through an absolute overhaul and transformation in order to take us into 2019 in a better place."

But Williams is clear there is no quick fix and it will "take some time" to get back towards the front.

"We are not going to come out next year winning races again. That is not realistic," she said.

"It takes a long time to turn a team around in F1, not least a team that scale of ours. So it is a work in progress but I am optimistic for the future 100%."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams
Author Jonathan Noble
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