the williams renaissance
that Smedley has hastened the progress.
During Smedley’s first race weekend
with the team, he pointed out many areas
where improvement was necessary –
obvious ones for someone who’d been at
the heart of Ferrari’s supremely efficient
track operations (to the point that the
Scuderia’s logistical and strategic expertise
has often allowed recent underwhelming
cars to punch above their weight). But
having picked some of the low-hanging
fruit, there’s still a long way to go.
“It’s not an easy thing to decide what to
go after first,” he says. “You have to look at
where your big wins are, and what’s going
to lose you lots of points if you get it wrong.
So you go after those first. But you can’t
change tack every five minutes; it’s not a
scattergun approach. It’s a process we have
to go through and there will be pain.”
There have been other, less high-profile
hires too. Having attempted to bring in
Lotus’s highly-regarded head of aero, Dirk
de Beer, who instead opted for Ferrari,
Williams went instead for his deputy,
David Wheater, who’s joined as head of
aerodynamic performance. But the fact
that Jason Somerville remains as overall
head of aerodynamics shows that it
wasn’t, as Claire Williams puts it, simply
“about kicking people out”.
Recruitment is only part of the story.
From 2005-’ 13, Williams’ engine saga took
it from BMW, to Cosworth, to Toyota, back
to Cosworth again, and then to Renault.
That kind of instability is counter-
productive, but with the new-for-2014
hybrid, 1.6-liter, V6 turbocharged “green”
engine formula looming, Williams signed a
seven-year supply deal with Mercedes.
The Mercedes is comfortably F1’s best
power unit, so its contribution to the
success of the team can’t be overlooked.
But even so, Williams is the only team to
have given the factory Mercedes squad a
NEVER STOP FIGHTING...
Getting to the top is hard. Staying there is harder. Making it back up when you fall is harder still. But what
perhaps separates Williams from other F1 teams that failed to halt their decline is the fight in the dog. From
Sir Frank down, it’s a team that never says die. Bet on it that its single win in the last decade won’t be its last.
2014 season still in progress. Best result as RACER went to press: second, British Grand Prix
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(LEFT) Pole for Felipe Massa in Austria
was followed by a Williams 3-4 finish, led
by teammate Valtteri Bottas, in the race.
(BELOW) Bottas went one better in the
British GP at Silverstone, taking a career-
best second place at Williams’ home event.
( TOP) Massa’s mojo
is back since joining
Williams. Only bad luck
has limited his points
haul relative to Bottas.