Nobody personifies a fall from grace in F1 quite as Williams Racing Team does. They used to be the standard-bearer of the sport in the 1980s and the 90s, winning a plethora of world championships. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even muster a single points finish last season and were ultimately sold to Dorilton Capital in a bid to have a fresh start.
However, the wounds are still a little fresh. Former deputy team principal Claire Williams bore the brunt of the team’s failures, sometimes unfairly.
But amid all the misery, what was the exact point where she felt like she hit rock bottom?
“My lowest point was not getting the car to testing, and that was a team effort. But at the end of the day, I was the TP (Team Principal), the deputy and you know, all of that sh*t falls on you when you’re the boss. And you have to take the good with the bad.
“So, that was the worst time,” Claire told Aurélie Donzelot in a podcast.
For fans unaware of the situation, Claire is referring to their delayed arrival at the pre-season testing at Barcelona in 2019. Their challenger, F42, did not arrive at the track on time. Reputed technical director, Paddy Lowe, left the team in the aftermath.
As for the whole season, they recorded just single points finish, courtesy of Kubica at German GP. It was the worst season in their history up to that point.
“It was the worst few weeks prior to it. Certainly, the week we were supposed to go testing was pretty horrendous… that whole year was a real low point.”
It makes us all wonder what brought about their poor fortunes in 2019. It might have been 2018 when they began developing the car for 2019 and got it completely wrong.
Thankfully, they sorted some of the issues that season and were much more competitive even if they didn’t have any points to show for it.
“But ’19 as much as we again had a sh*tty year, we cleared out the issues, and we were able to start making progress and move forward. And if hadn’t done that, we would have been in the same position as ’18.”
“So, people always thought ’19 was my worst year, but it was actually ’18,” Claire noted.
The sport needs historical and prestigious teams like Williams to get somewhere close to its former glory. Fans of the past still resonate with them while the new ones don’t wish to see George Russell languishing at the bottom.
Read More – Why Are Williams Struggling in F1?