October 3, 2022

Williams have won their home Grand Prix 10 times in England, but at Silverstone this weekend even a handful of points would spell success.

Once a formidable leader, Williams fell back as the team’s budget dwindled. The last of his 16 championships was in 1997, his last title fight was in 2003 and he hasn’t won a race since 2012. In 2018 he fell to last place, chained with the car by far the slowest, completing an ignominy that lasted for three years.

The Williams family erected the sale sign in May 2020, prompted by deteriorating finances, the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of a major sponsor. In August 2020, Dorilton Capital, a private New York investment firm, became the new owner of Williams. Team co-founder Sir Frank Williams died in November aged 79.

Jost Capito became general manager and team manager in 2021, with the task of resuscitating Williams. He recruited Francois-Xavier Demaison from Volkswagen as technical director, vacant since 2019. Both had orchestrated Volkswagen’s dominant period in the world rally championship from 2013 to 2016.

“We could say we had to restore the team’s confidence,” Capito said. “In the last few years, before that, they couldn’t really invest because of the financial situation. The team sees what the other teams are investing in, then loses some confidence. And then they see Dorilton invest and close the gap with the other teams, people start to believe again, and as management you have to show it and encourage it. People need to believe in themselves again.

This investment included upgrading Williams’ facilities to modern standards. Williams improved in 2021, finishing eighth out of 10 teams, scoring points in August for the first time in more than two years. George Russell, who now drives for Mercedes, even finished second in a rain-shortened Belgian Grand Prix.

After new regulations this season that required significantly redesigned cars, the team is back in last place again.

“It’s pretty clear that we’re the car that’s suffered the most from the pace so far this season, and I don’t feel like I have to make the most of it either,” said the Williams driver. , Nicholas. Latifi.

But Alexander Albon, Russell’s replacement, scored two points.

“We are working hard at the moment to close the gap towards midfield,” Albon said. “I think that’s really our primary objective: to get into the points and be in those battles.”

That should be helped by changes to his car’s aerodynamics, changes that should be ready for the British race.

“The end goal is to win races and win the championship again,” Capito said. Demaison said 2026, when Formula 1 introduces new regulations, was a realistic target.

He joked: “It’s clear that next year we want to take a step, we don’t want to be 10th. If we’re 10th next year, I won’t talk to you next year. I say you have to judge us in two years.

“I always say we have three main projects,” Demaison said. “It’s the modernization of the company, the restructuring of the team, and in the meantime we still have to race every two weeks.”

“The problem is that if we want to rush and then think ‘Ah, we need a quick fix for the car’ and expend a lot of energy so that the long-term goal is not achieved,” he said. he declared. “You have to go through a full development process of the car to see where the weak points are.

Capito said many people work at Williams because of his name and heritage and because of Frank Williams.

“It hasn’t been reflected in recent years,” Capito said, “but when you visit us and walk into the museum [at team headquarters in England] and seeing the great cars that Williams has done in the past, so that’s very encouraging for everyone because they say we want to be there again.