Monday, March 19, 2018

Engine Blood Ranks The 2018 Contenders: 6. Once-proud garagistas scrambling for coins

HISTORY: Founded by Frank Williams, we have the last of the garagistas right here - a team purely for racing, without major manufacturer links or a road car division, and for that at least they should be saluted.

They've had a ton of success over the years, from early title wins with Alan Jones and Keke Rosberg, to a superb 1986-87 relationship with Honda that brought Piquet his third title, and the essentially self-driving model that brought huge  success for Mansell and Prost in the early nineties.  Sadly the stripping of gadgets hurt them more than most, and the death of Ayrton Senna in a Williams in 1994 really hit the team hard.

They've been there or thereabouts more often than not since, a flirtation with Toyota engines aside, but are a fair way removed from their last win (with Pastor Maldonado - remember that jerk?) and could do with a bit of a boost.  Let's hope they haven't hired any shit young pay drivers, eh?

...Ah.  Oh dear.


From Press Association, accessed via BBC Sport.
The Williams Martini Racing livery is classy, nostalgic, iconic, clean, and aspirational, and these writers have often considered jumping in for some merch after a few on-track "refreshments".  If it wasn't for their awful, awful driver choices, this might have been the year we shelled out £80 for a shirt.


18. Lance STROLL (CAN)
35. Sergey SIROTKIN (RUS)

What.  The.  Actual.  Fuck.

"The Heartbreaker" Lance Stroll (as he was dubbed during the overwrought theatrics of the US Grand Prix pre-show) is an undeserving pay driver who somehow eked out a podium in his first season last year - as did Nelson Piquet Jnr, lest we forget - during the engine bloodbath that was Azerbaijan.  His daddy enlivens Williams' bank account to the reported tune of £20m per season, so we all know why he's there, and it's an absolute disgrace.

Sirotkin is a multiple-time F1 nearly man, including a stint as Sauber's third driver, during which everyone complained he was too young and green to do the job.  Frankly he's still too young and green to do the job, even in comparison to his child of a teammate.  Again though, money talks - and both drivers do at least have some, shall we say, "motivation" in the form of a highly-focused Robert Kubica as third driver, hoping for a fairytale comeback from a rally accident that left him with a severed hand.

LAST YEAR: 5th in Constructors' Championship, 83 points.

19. Felipe MASSA (BRZ) - 11th, 43 points, best finish: 6th.
18. Lance STROLL (CAN) - 12th, 40 points, best finish: 3rd.
40. Paul DI RESTA (GB) - Not classified.

So goodbye again, Felipe, and thanks for the memories, again.  So nearly the 2008 world champion, a man that went toe-to-toe with the top names of his generation and came out on top a surprising amount of times, and a man who (ahem) was technically already retired, but got pressed back into service when Bottas left for Mercedes unexpectedly.

Massa being ill also brought another returnee - Paul Di Resta, perhas F1's most boring talker.  Luckily his stay has not been extended or every pre-race interview section would be rendered snooze-worthy.  In the meantime, Stroll lucked into the only podium of the whole year that wasn't taken by Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull in a rare race of attrition.

PROSPECTS: We want Williams to do well, for nostalgia if nothing else - but let's be clear here, for that driver line-up alone they deserve to fail, though it's admittedly sad that a great old team with a good title sponsor needs to stoop this low for finance.

Unless we see a mid-season substitution that brings in Kubica, Kyvat or even Di Resta, they will either be moribund or intensely annoying.

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