WhiteBlue wrote:I was sick and tired of Pat Head's attitude when Williams had the strongest engine on the grid and for no money in the world got a competitive chassis. BMW pumped a lot of cash into the team and made some progress for two years. Then it went down the drain very quickly and it was by no means Theissen's fault. The Sauber take over shows very clearly that Theissen is by far the better team manager than Head. These two were conducting a little war between themselves in the two final years and Theissen had no chance because Head was a share holder. Generally Head is vastly over rated the last twelve years. If they hadn't had Newey and Dernie they would have sunk much earlier. It's a shame for Sir Frank because he is generally doing a very nice job and is such a likeable man.
You mean earlier than 12 LONG years ago? Williams had their hey day but since then (12 yrs) they have done very little except in 2003 when I think they should have won everything but were robbed by Michelin-gate and the bogus Indy Montoya DQ.
To be fair the team should have never been hoodwinked by Willi Weber into Ralf's second contract. They should have treated Montoya better and told Ralf the whiner to piss off. This wasn't Head's fault, it was Frank's and Frank should have told Mario that Ralf was history. But BMW held a lot of cards when Ralf's contract came up and with German pressure Williams had to cave in. No doubt the strained relationship with BMW made it hard for Williams to have the rapport to tell Willi Weber where to go. A back drop of 3 Ralf victories in 2002 made it even harder (though a monkey could have won those races in that car). Also the 2002 car only finished 16 times out of 34 starts (17x2) and mostly is was the grenade in the rear that let them down so Williams' frustration with BMW was justified. For sure circumstances conspired against Williams and BMW but they still should have dumped Ralf (or halved his salary) and backed Montoya more. It was so bad that Montoya signed to race for McLaren a year and a half in advance even during a near double Championship year at Williams. This is personnel mismanagement at it highest and Williams at their lowest.
McLaren, even when they had Newey saw that the age of the star designer was over and built a team of designers. Williams is trying to do the same but Sam Michael just isn't up to it and Patrick finds it hard to delegate and release the engineers fully. But they do need to get some better aero people also. Mark Gillan was available but Toyota correctly perceived his value and snapped him up. Williams are notoriously cheap (except when they are being swindled by Willi Weber) and are too gentlemanly to poach talent from other teams. They need to spend $$$ on pirating talent and then let them do their job. They are being soundly beat by Toyota who have come to the sport well after Williams' hey day and spent much of that short time floundering tailoring the car to the same overpriced Ralf when Jarno dusted him in early 2005 (from the TF105B through to the last Ralf influenced car the TF107 Toyota were went down hill.... no I don't like Ralfie-pooh and Willi the shyster). The point being that Toyota are now beating the "pedigreed" Williams soundly in a square chassis fight.
All in all I must agree with your assessment of Patrick Head. He is living in the past. BTW, this same "living in the past" mentality is what drives Max Mosley with his "customer chassis"/cheap engines/low budget/"independent teams" fixation that has its roots in the Cosworth era. Accordingly Max has been out of step ever since the "manufacturer era" started with the first Renault turbos and that is a lot of time to spend being out of date. Ron Dennis, for all his small picture attention to detail, read the big picture tea leaves better and, after the low point of Peugeot, acquiesced to reality and became the first to embrace a manufacturer, give them an equity stake and allowed full engineering collaboration and integration. Head and Williams resisted all of this when the golden opportunity of BMW appeared at their door step. BMW wanted full engineering collaboration and integration back in 2002 but Williams chaffed as the old mentality was too hard to shake. Moreover if Williams had the wisdom to give BMW an equity stake they would have forever secured a worthy manufacturer partner. As it is they have been rightly relegated back to the customer engine status that their out-dated paradigm dictates. There are no more partners to be had and they missed their chance. They can only fade/remain in second tier status from now on.
Bad personnel management saw Mansell and Hill leave the team as sitting Champions. More bad personnel management saw Ralf get embraced and Montoya disgusted into leaving. Bad business management saw BMW leave and an opportunity for long term prosperity vanish. All this has its roots in an out-dated short-sighted cheapskate mentality. So, while I also greatly respect and like Frank, I must apportion much of this at his footsteps as well.