Thursday, March 06, 2014

Engine Blood's Guide To 2014: Williams

IN SHORT: Have seen better days.

HISTORY: Started by the great Sir Frank Williams in the seventies, they rose meteorically to take a number of titles in a competitive early to mid eighties.  After going a bit off the boil at the very end of that decade, their fly by wire, traction controlled, pretty-much-drives-itself model of 1992 and 1993 won with embarrassing ease, and two more titles followed that decade.

Whilst they were still competitive in the early 2000s with their intriguing Montoya/R. Schumacher driver line-up, later years have been particularly unkind to the once dominant team, and though they clinched a win in 2012, it was a result that flattered to deceive.  Last year was the worst in living memory, so this one could be make or break for the ultimate privateers.


Souce: F1 Fanatic
Williams have never fought shy of maverick technological and design steps, as proven by the walrus nose of the early 2000's and an experiment with six wheels in the seventies.  Perhaps the biggest surprise is that they're in the majority this time; rather than putting a twist on like Caterham or Lotus, they've gone for the basic shape that most have agreed on, with a tapering nose.

ENGINE: Mercedes.  Williams has made some great choices (Honda, BMW) and some terrible ones (Toyota, Judd) in the past.  Williams-Renault was such an evocative combination for anyone who saw their automatically-driven cars sweep all before them in 1992 and 1993, but early testing suggests the jump to the Germans may have been a stroke of genius...


19. Felipe MASSA (BRZ) - Last year: 8th (112 points, best finish: 3rd, Spain)

77. Valtteri BOTTAS (FIN) - Last year: 17th (4 points, best finish: 8th, USA)

2008 World Champion Felipe Massa - it's only a Wikipedia update away! - finally departs a Ferrari team who were always on at him to improve, but not so much that he got in Alonso's way.  Now he no longer has to walk that tightrope, we could see the racer of old unleashed - IF the car's half decent; otherwise he'll be following his mate Rubinho into retirement.

Bottas, who has a vaguely amusing surname that is sort of a portmanteau of terms for the human behind in English, but is doubtlessly probably very serious in Finnish, had little chance to impress last year given the lack of quality equipment.  He did storm it in some later qualifying sessions though, so judgement should be reserved for now.  Is he all hot air?  Will he bottom out or follow through?  Can he (remember to come up with a third anus-related pun later, or this joke won't work - Ed).

LAST YEAR: 9th (5 points)

Pastor MALDONADO (VEN) - 18th (1 point, best finish: 10th, Hungary)

The name above is probably uttered with total disgust in the corridors of Williams HQ.  Maldonado did bring a fat Venezuelan oil cheque and a briefly impressive win in 2012, but last year the relationship turned sour in a hurry, as he accused the team of wrecking his chances in a number of races and sessions.  Unprofessional conduct, but that'll be someone else's problem this year, and replacing him with Massa improves on him in absolutely every area.

PROSPECTS: Another false dawn for the increasingly downtrodden veterans - but it can't be as bad as last year.

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