Villeneuve can't see recovery for "dead" Williams

Ex-Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve does not believe his former team Williams will improve this season and fears it is "dead".

Villeneuve can't see recovery for "dead" Williams
Sergey Sirotkin, Williams FW41
Sergey Sirotkin, Williams FW41
Jacques Villeneuve, Sky Italia
Sergey Sirotkin, Williams FW41
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41, in the pit lane prior to the start
Sergey Sirotkin, Williams FW41
Sergey Sirotkin, Williams Racing
David Redding, Team Manager, Williams
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41

Williams has scored four points in 2018, all from Lance Stroll's eighth place finish in Azerbaijan, as it has struggled with an aerodynamic stall at the rear of its FW41 that is causing high-speed turn-in instability.

Its rookie Sergey Sirotkin is the only driver yet to score a point in 2018 and last weekend Williams had to start both cars from the pitlane after abandoning a new rear wing that triggered fresh aero stalls in qualifying.

Asked if he saw Williams improving this year, the team's 1997 world champion Villeneuve told Motorsport.com: "No. The team is dead.

"There is no management. There was a choice back then [in 2013], you either put the heiress or the heir [in charge].

"And they put Claire instead of Jonathan [who runs Williams's heritage division]. Big mistake. Obviously, just look where the team is at now."

Claire Williams assumed the role of deputy principal at the start of 2013, and though Williams went on to score just five points and finish eighth in the constructors' championship that season, it also announced a Mercedes engine deal for 2014.

That helped Williams score nine podiums and a pole position, and leap to third in the championship, its best result since finishing second in 2003.

It finished third again in 2015 and fifth in the two seasons since, but Villeneuve believes the "top of the pyramid" is "completely blind to where the team is at".

"You have to admit that you're screwed," said Villeneuve, who left Williams a year after winning the title. "I don't know how it can recover. I just don't see it.

"If you have two drivers without experience, that won't help. Not in a team like this."

Though Villeneuve thinks Sirotkin is "lucky to be in F1, even if it's in the worst team", he suggested he had sympathy for Russian and added: "With Lance there, and the family, the politics, you don't learn anything."

Williams hired ex-Ferrari man Dirk de Beer last year as its head of aerodynamics, shortly before former Mercedes head Paddy Lowe joined as chief technical officer.

De Beer left the team since the start of 2018 though, along with chief designer Ed Wood, and the team is still undertaking a "full evaluation of its internal structures and processes" in its bid to recover.

Williams declined the chance to respond to Villeneuve's comments when approached by Motorsport.com, but last weekend Williams said it had already identified weaknesses "within the team" as well as on the FW41.

"As you go through that analysis invariably you always find other fires that you've got to put out," said Claire Williams at Silverstone last weekend.

"It's probably been a very useful exercise from that perspective, to go through that process and identify all your weaknesses.

"That's going to give us an opportunity to actually make greater steps forward."

shares
comments
Renault planning new aero concept for Germany

Previous article

Renault planning new aero concept for Germany

Next article

What was behind Red Bull's split wing approach

What was behind Red Bull's split wing approach
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Prime

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021