Simon Roberts, team principal of the Williams Racing Formula 1 team, is planning for the future and stressed there’s no quick fix to their performance deficit.
Having finished third in the constructors’ championship as recently as 2015, the team enter the 2021 F1 season on the back of three consecutive 10th-place finishes. However, with the investment of Dorilton Capital, as well as a slight upturn in form last year, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
"We have got a plan," Roberts told the Race. "But we’re not going to jump up to mid-grid, we’re too far off that. Our intent is to race the ’21 car and to improve it from where we are. Obviously, there’s some reg changes that are going to take some [aero] load off, so we’re hell bent on recovering as much as we can."
With the carryover of last year’s machinery into 2021, and the major regulation changes on the horizon, teams must balance developing this season’s car with preparing for 2022. And after Dorilton Capital’s already sizeable investment, Roberts is aware that efficiency is key if the team want to get that balance right.
"2022 is a huge risk and reward point in F1, one of the classics," he continued. "No one wants to get it wrong, but we’ve looked at what we need to do in terms of the whole-car design with zero carryover.
"We’ve mapped that out as best we can and then we’ve looked at what’s left, at what’s available in terms of aero resource, windtunnel time, CFD time, design capacity and manufacturing capacity to harvest as much performance as we can on the 43B (the 2021 car)."
"We’ll slowly share resource across key facilities with both cars and then as the year goes on, migrate progressively over to 100% on ‘22. We’ve got a good team, we know what to do to design a ’22 car. Where we’ll be, I don’t know, we’ll do the best we can."
While it is sad that the Williams family is no longer fronting the team, the stability in place means Williams Racing now has a platform on which they can build for the future. And with the supply of Mercedes engines and the recent agreement to extend that supply to include a gearbox and hydraulic system from next season, perhaps we'll see the Grove-based outfit make a welcome return to the points in 2021 and beyond.