With manufacturer partnerships being what they are in F1 and Works teams holding customer teams at a disadvantage, Claire Williams believes her team can benefit from their great relationship with Mercedes.
Williams F1 is arguably the third-best team on the grid right now, despite the fact that they have the fifth biggest budget, behind Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren, and not necessarily in that order. After the team parted ways with BMW in 2005, they only managed one win and three podiums over the span of 8 years.
Now that they have Mercedes on their side, they can finally focus all their attention towards the car’s chassis, since the power unit is already the best in all of Formula 1 – as well as identical to the one that the Mercedes Works team utilizes.
“No one can deny having the backing of a manufacturer financially is critical,” said the deputy team principal. “But unless we have a good relationship and understanding and respect of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and boundaries, it would be very difficult to make it work, particularly in a culture like our team.”
Ms. Williams also added that “We work very hard on that relationship to make sure that we’ve cultivated this partnership, it’s as strong as it can be, and we have a long-term relationship with them,” while still talking about Mercedes. “So at the moment we’re very happy with that and I like the way things are working.”
As for the future, Ms. Williams points out what happened in Silverstone this season. “We overtook them [Mercedes] and we led for 20 laps, and it was only really because our car wasn’t strong enough to keep them behind us, that wasn’t the power unit it was the car. We have to do a better job on the chassis side and then we can fight for wins and we can fight Mercedes for a championship.”
Williams, as a team, need to work on being consistently good throughout the season, regardless of what type of circuit they’re racing on. Sure, the car is fast in a straight line, but they need to develop their package for high-downforce tracks without having to make any compromises – as it was the case in 2015.
Could they win the 2016 Constructors Championship? If they remain F1’s third best-team, then obviously not. But if they can match that Mercedes engine up with a very much improved chassis, then they could, in theory, win a couple of races.
Story references: autosport