A dreadful start to the 2011 championship season for Williams could see the team looking for scapegoats, and the crosshairs are firmly pointed in the direction of the team’s technical director, Sam Michael, according to recent reports.
Despite a semi-promising pre-season build-up, the FW33 has proven to be neither quick nor reliable in the two races to-date in 2011, which moved the team’s chairman Adam Parr to engage in examining several process improvements to prevent a repeat of this in subsequent seasons.
“We will be looking not only at how to address the short-term issues, we will be working together to strengthen the team for 2012 and beyond,” he is quoted as saying.
“Every aspect will be reviewed, nothing is sacred, but we will do this methodically and not in a reactive way.”
But reports from Germany claim that Australian-born Michael could be on the chopping block.
The team’s minor shareholder Christian ‘Toto’ Wolff – a man who is usually a ‘silent partner’ at Williams – will make a rare visit to the Shanghai paddock for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, sparking rumours of a restructure in the Williams camp.
According to Motorsport-total.com, Wolff believes there are “five or six core issues” need to be examined, including “the human factor”, citing the poor transition “from the founding generation to the next” as part of team founders Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head taking a more back seat role, including selling a stakeholding in the team on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
It is widely believed that Wolff’s comments are a direct reference to Michael, who assumed the technical directorship role from Head in 2004, the last year that Williams won a Grand Prix.
[Original image via Sutton Images]