Williams Racing will be hoping for a more promising 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship season. The team got used to being on top in previous years, winning championships, but in recent times, have fallen down the championship ladder.
The introduction of young drivers has boosted the team, but they still struggle to get themselves into those all-important point paying positions.
2020 – End of an era for Williams
Williams ended up going backwards instead of forward. In the 2019 season, the team finished with just one point and would have hoped that going forward, they could get a few more in the bag.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for 2020 and they finished bottom of the pack with no points. The duo of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi did have a few chances to grab points. Arguably, the most famous example of William’s missing out on points is when Russell crashed during a safety car while running in tenth at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix; The highest both drivers finished was eleventh.
Russell was dubbed Mr. Saturday when he pushed his car to the limits and got it through to Q2 in qualifying a staggering nine times. He also outqualified his Williams teammate every race weekend. The only time Russell was out-qualified was during the Sakhir Grand Prix by Valtteri Bottas when he stood in for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team when the latter tested positive for COVID-19.
While Russell was off driving the Mercedes, Jack Aitken got his first taste in a F1 race.
In August 2020, Williams was acquired by Dorilton Capital, an US investment group. Leading up to the Italian Grand Prix, it was announced that the William’s family would be stepping away from the team and the race at Monza would be their last. It is the first time the team hasn’t been under the leadership of the William’s family since 1977. Claire Williams was offered the chance to stay on as Team Principal but ultimately decided to leave.
Williams have continued with the duo of Russell and Latifi. Aitken continues as reserve driver and Roy Nissany as the teams F1 development driver.
With the William’s family leaving the team, the backroom staff has some big changes. Simon Roberts was made the Team Principal in December 2020. Roberts was the interim Team Principal after Claire William’s departure and impressed enough to keep the role.
Jose Capito was named as the new CEO of the team. Capito has some history within F1. He previously worked at McLaren F1 Team and Sauber within Formula 1 and oversaw the Volkwagen domination in the World Rally Championship.
Williams had problems when they unveiled their new look car for 2021, the FW43B. They had planned to launch the car on their app, allowing fans to view the car in their own homes. However, the event was abandoned when their app was hacked, causing the team to release the details of their 2021 challenger through a press release.
What to expect
The three-day test at Bahrain Circuit held a lot of promise for the team. Latifi ran all day on the Saturday, finishing seventh fastest. Russell completed all of the running on Sunday and finished in a slightly higher position of sixth.
Last year, the team run with a rookie and a driver with one full year experience in F1. This year, they’re no longer the newest driver line up on the grid with Uralkali Haas F1 Team giving drives to two rookies, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
It’s expected the experience of the two Williams drivers to prevail over Haas’ line up and lift Williams away from the bottom position. Although the team doesn’t quite have the pace yet of Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, the least they could do is grab a few points and promote themselves a place.