2005 has been a difficult year for Williams, a season in which the team did not win a race and finished fifth in the constructors' standings. Engineering chief Patrick Head knows that the situation must be reversed for Williams to continue in F1 and warned that anyone thinking of writing the team off should not be too hasty.
"Williams is an independent company and it cannot continue to survive as a competitive force in F1 with the sort of seasons we have had in 2004 and 2005," Head remarked, according to Autosport. "Anyone can keep running a team down until it's dead in the water, but that's not what Williams is about."
"We were fourth last year and won a race, this year was more difficult. It's too long ago that we won a title and that's something we have to correct if we want to be taken seriously as a competitive force in GP racing." It's been eight years since Williams was champion, back in 1997 with Jacques Villeneuve.
Next season Williams will be Cosworth powered after splitting with long-term engine partner BMW, and will also return to using Bridgestone tyres. "We're a company that has survived on action rather than talk and we must deliver next year," said Head. "Anybody who thinks we are a spent force would be making a rash judgement."
Williams went through the driver rigmarole once again this summer when the already-contracted Jenson Button backed out in order to remain with BAR for 2006. Mark Webber will remain with the Grove squad and has the support of team boss Frank Williams, despite a problematic season with a few on-track clashes.
"It's easy to say he (Webber) has had a difficult season, and I suppose some of his race results have been disappointing, but some of the incidents have been racing incidents," said Williams. "His qualifyings have been absolutely outstanding and he is clearly a very quick driver."
Who will be teammate to Webber in 2006 has not been confirmed but the rumour mill suggests that Nico Rosberg will announced in the near future. Rosberg is this year's GP2 champion and Williams' second test driver. If true, it will be bad news for official tester Antonio Pizzonia, who was also on the list to fill the second race seat.