Deputy team principal of Williams Claire Williams says that she is proud to have avoided an 'implosion' in 2018. This comes as the team have fallen to the back of the grid this year, and have lost many valuable members of the team such as Rob Smedley and Dirk De Beer.
Their 2018 challenger was launched with high hopes of improving on their fifth place finish from 2017, as the FW41 is the first car that has been created under the leadership of Paddy Lowe. Lowe has won championships at Mercedes and McLaren, but he has been far from that this year.
Speaking on the official F1 podcast, Williams said: “It's been an enormous shock actually. I fully expected to come into this year in a much better place. I think we all did, and probably a lot of fans of ours around the world thought that we were going to be coming out with a much quicker race car. That was the expectation, so when we got to testing – we didn't even have to wait till Australia to really realise that that wasn't the case."
“But as the season has progressed, certainly in the earlier races, it was an enormous shock. I couldn't quite believe that Williams was repeatedly finding itself down at the bottom of the grid, either in qualifying or [the race]. And I don't think I've quite gotten over that shock yet. All I know is that there are two races to go and I can't wait until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi, if I'm allowed to say that.”
“Clearly we've had countless meetings with Paddy, with the whole technical group. Clearly there are a number of issues at play but I'm not a one to air dirty laundry."
“One of the things that I'm proudest of this year is that the team has really stuck together. We could have imploded, we could have all started a load of infighting, we could have sacked half the people, but that's not the way that I wanted this to play out.
"Of course we've had conversations, and we know the clear areas of weakness. I think probably the world can see the biggest areas of weakness for us, and of course there has to be accountability. We have to look at where we've gone wrong."
“Probably aero we went wrong with, cooling we went wrong with, but there are many other factors at play. You don't find yourself sliding back from P5 to P10 in the championship without a lot of other things at play as well. It's not just about how we went about designing our race car over the winter."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing