Williams will finish the 2022 season in last place. It is the result of a lack of investment in recent years. You shouldn't expect too much from the traditional racing team in the coming season either.
The fourth most successful racing team after victories in the history of the premier class is still crawling around in the table cellar. Williams is a distant last this season. And will remain in this position if there is not another landslide at the south pole of the table in the final four races. This place is now well-known territory for the traditional racing team. In four of the last five seasons (since 2018), Williams has been at the bottom. Last year was the exception.
Since 2018, Williams has only collected 39 championship points in 99 Grands Prix. With the FW44, the Grove team can't get away from last place. The Williams is the car with the lowest downforce in the field. "We drove in Monza with our high-downforce package on a low-downforce track," they scoff at themselves in the team. With success. There was no track that Williams liked better than the Autodromo. Two World Championship points jumped out because substitute Nyck de Vries swam safely in the DRS train. Little downforce means little drag. Only the top speed is right.
In Suzuka there were the next counters. Nicholas Latifi's risky strategy, with an early tire change from full wets to intermediates, paid off. The Canadian, who has to leave at the end of the season, came into the pits alongside Sebastian Vettel and brought home the points – without any mistakes and with a spirited drive.
Williams wind tunnel with update
The recovery is sluggish. Even after the takeover by Dorilton Capital in the summer of 2020, things don't seem to be going well at Williams. It is asserted that the investment firm remains fully behind the team. Don't think about selling. Dorilton has to put money in to feed Williams. For more than ten years, no proper investments have been made in the infrastructure of the racing team. It goes without saying that this must have an impact and has accelerated the decline.
It starts with the wind tunnel, which is outdated and needed an update first. And continues with important production machines. Last year Williams had to partially outsource its chassis. There was only one machine in the factory to finish the monocoque after it came out of the oven. A second machine has been purchased for this season in order to give both chassis the finishing touches themselves.
There was no longer a reasonable gearbox test bench. The purchase would have been too expensive. Ten to twelve million, they calculate as a team. Williams has therefore preferred to stock up on Mercedes since this season. Since then, Grove has had the power transmission delivered. This allows Williams to concentrate more on the core areas of vehicle construction. Areas that bring lap time.
Williams needs time
Not only the infrastructure is slowing down. The new management first had to get an idea of how the team works. Jost Capito has been the team's CEO since February 2021. With Francois-Xavier Demaison, an old acquaintance from the VW days, he brought into the team as head of technology. But FX, as he's called, should have to deal more with processes than with the car itself.
The new management had to get to the bottom first. Retrain processes and set up proper project management with clear responsibilities. It is said that previously there were several small groups at Williams that more or less worked towards themselves. Apparently this got out of hand in such a way that during the construction phase the team didn't even know exactly what certain parts cost. In times of budget caps, this had to be addressed immediately.
As his apology, those responsible say that everything has to settle in first. You shouldn't expect too much in the coming season either. Rebuilding takes time. You have to think long-term. With Alexander Albon, they have a driver on board who is still young but experienced at the same time. The 26-year-old brought Red Bull know-how with him. He knows how a top team works. Williams hasn't been one of those for over two decades. However, some in the team still seem to be living in the past.
The second driver is likely to be youngster Logan Sargeant. First of all, the American would not be expensive. And secondly, he could grow alongside the team. A young driver has more patience. It will take it until Williams moves up again. It is also part of team principal Jost Capito's philosophy to train young drivers. You could have imagined someone like Nyck de Vries for the team. It was logical that he chose Alpha Tauri. It's just the better and more solid team than Williams.