Mr Brooksy wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:53 am
Lotus102 wrote: ↑
Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:26 pm
Claire Williams sounding very positive in Motorsport Week
The key target now is getting the car to the test on time, at the lights when they go green, if not before. I have absolute confidence that will happen. As everyone knows, we brought in a whole new planning function last year that works from the start of the process, to the beginnings of the start in aero, right to the end of car assembly. We’ve built ourselves a huge amount of contingency. There's time to ensure that if something does go wrong, you know we’re OK and we’ve got some cover there.
One of the first signs of success for us over the winter was we passed all our crash tests, most of which we did at the first attempt. Rather than last year, where we failed many of them, even at the sixth attempt we were failing them, which obviously puts even more pressure into your system, because then you’re having to deal with why you failed the crash test rather than worrying about getting the parts out.
I didn't realise things had been so bad with the crash tests last year. All in all for Williams to have come out with a car that was slow, late, illegal and unsafe is quite an achievement. I don't quite understand how things got to that point from 2017, when the team was perhaps slightly underperforming but a solid midfield outfit, to 2019 when it was a complete clown-car shambles. The elephant in that particular room has to be Paddy Lowe, in my view.
I didn't realise how bad we went last year with the crash tests either. I really was a big believer in Paddy Lowe, and have defended him many times... Pat Symonds seemed to get the most out of the team in his 3 year tenure, maybe as has been speculated many times, Lowe tried to change things to the Merc way of doing stuff to quickly, or even that system isn't what Williams needed in the first place.
No one is really going to know except those in the inside.
Regarding Brundles comments, I'd have to agree to an extent. I think someone else needs to run the team from an operations perspective, it's been very up and down under her watch. And no 2014-15 weren't TOTALLY about the Merc V6T. Most intelligent arguments I've read come to that conclusion.
But at the same time there's no denying she can pull cash out of thin air, I think her running the PR and image of the team with someone else in operations would be a better situation.
I haven't ever really rated Brundle's opinion and I doubt he has that much close insight into Williams, so I can't accept that what he has to say carried any particular weight. It seems an odd time to be making these kinds of comments now when we have no idea if Williams is on course for another disaster or is going to start showing the green shoots of recovery. We'll know in a couple of weeks.
We'll never really know which individuals were most at fault for 2018 and 2019, but I find it hard to accept that what had been a reasonably functioning team in 2017 got to where it was in February 2019 through no fault of Paddy's. As you say, Pat Symonds seems to have made a difference - things were increasingly chaotic under Mike Coughlan in 2011-13, stabilised dramatically in 2014-17 (despite taking a bit of a downward turn at the end of that) and then went completely chaotic in 2018. I don't accept that the success in 2014 was entirely down to the Merc V6 - for one thing, Williams soundly beat McLaren and Force India who were using the same powerplant, and at times ran the Merc works team extremely close. The view at the time was that the FW36 had superb stability in high speed corners, so it was not just a dead simple chassis with a good engine. I've heard it said from authoritative sources that Williams started that period with extremely good correlation between wind tunnel/CFD and it got steadily worse through that period. This isn't the fault of any individual or few individuals - but the slow response to it probably is. The stability of the chassis seems to have eroded over the same period, and rather than trying to fix it, and with what was by then poor correlation, the design team seems to have tried to take a big step forward. It was a recipe for disaster. I spent 2018 defending Paddy Lowe and believing that he was the factor the team needed to start heading up the grid again. By the start of last year, I could no longer accept that he was doing a good job. That's just my opinion. I understand that a lot of people take an alternative view and am not going to insist to them that them they are wrong, but I can only call things as I see them.
But, as has been pointed out above, there are positives, which indicate that the whole team is not a basket case. The performance of the race team has been consistently high, and the commercial team has continued to bring in sponsorship and other funding despite increasingly poor performance on the track (and a rather stagnant world economy and a lot of uncertainty), the importance and difficulty of which is not to be understated. (As far as things like losing the Martini sponsorship is concerned, OK, but the Martini deal was down to Claire in the first place, and the decision to switch to Mercedes rather than stick with Renault was also Claire's).