The 1997 season – Williams’ last championship win – feels like a lifetime ago, and to watch the outfit yo-yo from season-to-season has been certainly difficult at times.
But sixth place in last year’s Constructors’ Championship shows a steady improvement for the Grove team, which will be hoping it can build on its solid 2010 performance with its innovative FW33 challenger.
Money is seemingly a bigger issue at the team – which recently floated a 28% shareholding – and this could stifle its hopes of competing with the better-funded outfits on the grid…
Williams’ 2010 track record
The 2010 season delivered sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship and no podium finishes, but it did deliver a surprise pole position for Nico Hülkenberg – only a week before the team replaced him with the better-funded Pastor Maldonado.
Money was very much a talking point when the subject of Williams cropped up in 2010, and it was usually the team’s lack of it that did most of the talking.
Despite some solid results from both Hülkenberg and his veteran team-mate Rubens Barrichello, several blue-chip sponsors left at the end of the year, effectively forcing the team’s hand into signing the well-funded Maldonado.
The team has copped plenty of heat over this decision, but it will be hoping that the fresh injection of cash from Maldonado’s sponsors will help keep it competitive.
Austrian business Toto Wolff bought a minor shareholding at the start of 2010 and the team underwent plenty of internal restructuring to set it up for the future.
On-track, the results were pleasing without being headline-grabbing. Barrichello really drove much of the performance, and the team benefited from his wealth of experience in developing the car.
And despite over 300 GP starts under his belt, he still proved he could mix it with the best, and enjoyed some excellent on-track dices – including that ballsy pass on Michael Schumacher at Hungary.
With the new regulations coming in and with Williams getting the chance to develop its own battery-powered KERS for this season, we could well be looking at an interesting 2011 season for the blue and white cars. Here’s hoping their upward swing continues…
Watch the Richard’s F1 pre-season vodcast as Richard and Jen talk about Williams’ championship prospects and why they should improve in 2011:
CLICK HERE to return to our 2011 Team & Driver Profiles.
[Images via AUTOSPORT]
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