While Ferrari's rather abrupt fall from grace this season has been the most noticeable it hasn't exactly been a stellar year for Williams either. The early season showed promise, with Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber regularly in the points and both...
While Ferrari's rather abrupt fall from grace this season has been the most noticeable it hasn't exactly been a stellar year for Williams either. The early season showed promise, with Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber regularly in the points and both on the podium in Monaco, but since Heidfeld's second place in Europe the results have faded.
In the last eight races the team has only been in the points three times, which is a far cry from the performance of previous years. Williams' current fifth place in the constructors' standings is likely secure -- BAR could overtake them but it's improbable, as is Williams overtaking fourth placed Toyota -- but naturally fifth is below expectations.
"The first part of this year wasn't brilliant but it was sort of reasonable and the second part of the year has been pretty unimpressive," Williams' director of engineering Patrick Head told Reuters.
"Our expectation that we would strengthen our position all the way through the season didn't stand up but we are confident we will be strong next year. We've sorted out a lot of the problems that we had with our wind tunnels, we are now getting more runs per day of good quality aero work."
Williams will part company with long-term engine partner BMW at the end of this season and will be Cosworth-powered in 2006. BMW, which takes over Sauber to run as a team in its own right from 2006, could have continued to supply Williams but the Cosworth deal was preferable. Head concedes that it won't have the development potential of a manufacturer engine, but is confident of performance.
"Unless somebody is producing an engine that is very special indeed, we have no reason to think that our engine next year will be anything other than competitive," he commented. "The problem will be whether it will have enough resource around it through the season to develop during the year and the answer at this stage is no."
"But it's one of the things we are working on. There is in the contract an agreed update during the year but there's no way it will have the white heat of development that, say, the Honda engine has on it."
Speculation has it that next season will be an interim year until Williams teams up with Toyota in 2007 but Head said no agreement had been made. Meanwhile, Williams confirmed this week that Antonio Pizzonia will race in Japan and China. Heidfeld, who will move to the new BMW team next year, is still recovering from a cracked shoulder and won't return to competition this season.