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Reading Edd Straw’s article at AUTOSPORT today, I was reminded of the hill that Williams F1 has to climb to get back to even 2012 performance levels after a miserable outing in 2013. The 2014 regulation changes have given some new optimism for the team but as Claire Williams explained to Mr. Straw, the teams who did well last year will most likely be the teams to beat in 2014:

“I don’t think that the [competitive] form will change too significantly, but what it does offer is an opportunity for teams who are a second or more off the pace to look at what they are doing and look at doing things in a different way.”

The question may be, what gains will Williams find by looking at these regulations differently and what will the overall impact be? As Lotus F1 technical director, Nick Chester, said today:

“From our perspective the figures look promising and development has been positive,” he said. “That said, we are very much working with very little idea of what the other teams are doing.”

Working in a vacuum is most likely what all the teams are doing at this point and it will be interesting to see if Williams, or Lotus F1 for that matter, will have examined the regulations and come up with a new and unique way of applying their design and engineering genius to claw back performance they have lost over the past 18 months.

Claire said:

“That’s what we are trying to do and all of the changes we have made this year have been about making the most of the resources we have to embrace the rule changes for next year.”

The expectations are very high for the teams new (veteran) driver Felipe Massa and they are very keen to have his input into the development of the 2014 chassis:

“…obviously, we expect him to do that at the racetrack but we also expect him to be back at the factory helping to develop.

“He is not one of those guys who just wants to turn up at the race track – he is an integral part now because of the experience he has. He should be able to help the process.

“He wants to muck in, get his hands dirty and everyone knows we love those kinds of drivers at Williams.”

Can Felipe bring some Ferrari know-how to the team and make Williams a better package for 2014? Will the regulation changes allow for some crafty new thinking from the team? Massa is a veteran of 193 races so one has to consider he will play a vital role in helping the team and coupled with Pat Symonds and a new engine supply from Mercedes, the future could look bright…or at least brighter than 2013 was.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Nathhulal

    Even the greatest Williams fan in me will think of the phrase “Remember Rubens?”
    Its one thing to get drivers from the big teams with unlimited resources on board, but its a different thing to provide them with all the resources, where they can make the difference.

    Rubens was in the team in 2010-11, by the time he joined the 2010 car was pretty much in advanced stage of development, so his inputs started to fruition only in the late 2010 and in 2011 season. Financial constraints within which the team operates,, Rubens was starting to get frustrated mid 2011, due to the team’s ability to attract/retain good technical talent, and he was already replaced by another driver to reap benefits of his inputs on the 2012 car.

    As much as I hope that the Massa story is different than his compatriots, I’ll wait and see how many people leave/join the team through the next season(s).

    • Brian

      There is a bit of an age difference to consider. I think Reubens was already on his way out by the time he hit Williams. I think that even though Felipe is not the driver he used to be, still has a lot to offer. I think having a team that is willing to put him first, or at least put him on par with his teammate, may do wonders for both revitalizing his racecraft and inspiring the team.

  • F1fletch

    I believe we will see and improved Williams and Massa this year, the seem to be working quite hard to maximize the funds they do have and I beleieve Massa will be a positive influence. Don’t forget he kept Alonso honest several times last year proving to me that the fire still burns and he has potential to get some good points.

    Also i beleieve he will thrive knowing he is the number 1 driver and their key development guy. This has to make him happy, happy people in a positive enviroment can do great. Let’s face it Williams cannot drop much lower, whereas every year Ferrari were expected to lift to the top and he was under constant pressure to deliver or be gone, he raised his game on several occasions. I think he has got some great fight in him.

  • Mike

    “And Claire did speak, and the minstrels cheered, and they feasted upon the fowl, and the breads, and the fruit bats and the carp. And all was good in the Massa village, from hence he did sign HP product brochures, and Lewis smiled. And all was positive along the pit lane, and the mechanics rejoiced’

  • F1fletch

    Love it!! LOL needed a laugh this morning. Hope they make the first test though, getting excited testing is only a few weeks off!!!