McLaren and Williams Slump is Proof of F1’s Merciless Nature

SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, CHINA - APRIL 15: Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW41 and Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL33 battle during the Chinese GP at Shanghai International Circuit on April 15, 2018 in Shanghai International Circuit, China. (Photo by Jerry Andre / Sutton Images)

The struggles suffered by Williams and McLaren in 2018 shows that Formula 1 offers no mercy, according to sporting boss Ross Brawn. The two aforementioned teams were once consistent title challengers and have embedded themselves in the history books as two of the sport’s most successful teams.

However, 2018 saw a new low for both, with Williams battling alone at the bottom of the grid for much of the season. While McLaren began the year fighting in the points, a fundamental aerodynamic issue saw it drop away from the competition and towards the rear of the field.

Brawn pointed out that Mercedes has retained stability in senior positions, while Williams and McLaren have shuffled around in recent years: “Mercedes still have the same people that I found there in 2007 and that is more than 10 years of stability,” Brawn told Autosport. “That’s so important.

McLaren and Williams, how the mighty have fallen

“I think Williams and McLaren, they went through changes and it always takes a while for those things to settle down. They are great teams with a great history, but unfortunately Formula 1 is not a great respecter of histories. It only respects what’s going on track.

“We as Formula 1 very much want those teams to get back into a competitive position because they’re great teams and great brands. But Formula 1 has no mercy. If you’re not doing a first-class job you its demonstrated every Sunday or every other Sunday. They have capacity to get back into a competitive place, but it’s a tough job.”

Brawn also believes that lack of stability is the reason for Ferrari’s failure to win championships over the last two years: “It’s nearly always a combination of things, it’s never one single thing. I think there was no doubt with Ferrari, the death of Sergio Marchionne had an impact.

“It was tragic in itself but it also had an impact on the team. For a man of his calibre and standing, it’s always going to be a very destabilising situation for a while. But I think they will have looked at what they have learnt and Sebastian [Vettel] would look at what he’s done. I think there’s a strong chance that they will be there fighting [in 2019].