Claire Williams, the Deputy Team Principal of Williams Martini Racing, says she is still giving her full support to the team’s Chief Technical Officer, Paddy Lowe, even though the Grove-based outfit have had an abysmal season so far.
The FW41 is the first car Lowe has designed since his transition from Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport at the beginning of 2017.
The current car is different to those designed by Lowe’s predecessor, Pat Symonds, while their chosen development path has meant that they have produced an underperforming car.
“Paddy is our CTO and I back him 100%,” said Williams, speaking to Formula 1.com. “Paddy is a triple world championship-winning Technical Director. He’s inherited a team with some issues and weaknesses and it’s his responsibility to fix these issues as our CTO.”
Williams is confident the team’s situation will improve given time.
“Giving someone a short time to do that and expect miracles is naïve,” she said. “He needs more time to fix these issues. At the end of the day, we’re all relying on Paddy and his team of engineers.
“It’s those guys who make the car go faster. We need to make sure we give them everything we can resources-wise to do what they can to give us a good race car. I trust Paddy and his team will deliver.”
The team’s engineering’s department has also undergone changes this year, in the form of the departures of Chief Designer Ed Wood, and aero man Dirk de Beer, which will not have helped development.
Lowe still has the top job, with Doug McKiernan, formerly of the McLaren F1 Team filling the post of Chief Engineer, with Lowe’s assurances that progress is being made.
“We’ve done a lot of very good work, but when you go and look and the numbers, we’ve probably stood still relative to our competitors,” said Lowe.
“We’re not going to give up, but if we’re realistic, the idea of getting back towards the front of the midfield at this stage in the season is maybe not going to happen.
“So naturally, which happens anyway, a lot more focus moves to the following year.”