Back to the drawing board for Mr Button

Williams says the partnership of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will be retained for a third season which closes the door on a return of Jenson Button to the team.

Massa joined for 2014 and has so far scored one pole position, at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix, and four podium finishes. Bottas is one of the sport’s most promising talents, with seven podiums to his name in the last two seasons.

Both drivers quickly developed an exceptional working relationship from the beginning of 2014 and, while they remain fiercely competitive as rivals,  you could say they’ve played a pivotal role in the rejuvenation of Williams.

Monza preview: Williams

Monza is home to some of the most passionate fans in Formula One. The Italian Grand Prix was first held during the inaugural Formula One season in 1950 and has been on the calendar ever since. Four times during a single lap the Williams FW37 will exceed 195mph due to the circuit’s layout. Monza’s history surrounds the circuit with corner names linking back to past greats and the original banking from the 1950s is ever-present. Monza hosts the last visit to Europe for the Formula One fraternity before it heads to sunnier climes. The Italian Grand Prix has had six Williams victors, with Felipe Massa securing an emotional podium in 2014 in front of the tifosi.

Rob Smedley:
“Monza is a specialist circuit and, like the rest of the teams, we will be taking a dedicated aero package. It’s a great circuit and a challenge for both engineers and drivers to get right. There are some very high speed straights with big braking zones with some fast and medium speed corners too. Ascari is a real challenge and Parabolica needs a good front end which fortunately the FW37 has. It’s a test for the drivers as they will have the lowest drag set-up of the year which takes time to get used to during the first Friday session. Last year we were on the podium so we look to replicate that performance and carry on outscoring our closest competitors. Italy is fantastic and the fans give the team a great reception, despite being a completely British team and of course the tifosi are some of the most passionate fans in sport.”

Felipe Massa:
“Monza is one of the best circuits to drive – the layout is quick with some very fast corners. The local area is fantastic with good weather, great food and fans who are very passionate about Formula One. There is a lot of history at the track and as a team we have had some good results there, including our podium last year. Standing on the Monza podium is very special and I’m lucky enough to have a lot of supporters in Italy. Our car should be suited well to the characteristics of the circuit but we will have to work hard to make sure that we leave Italy with a good result.”

Valtteri Bottas:
“I always look forward to racing in Monza. It’s an old school track with a lot of history and is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar which gives you a real buzz when driving. It requires a low downforce set-up from the car which should be good for us. The passionate fans also make the weekend a special one. We are aiming for a strong weekend here. We have learnt from our mistakes and will bounce back even stronger!”

Hungarian GP post race: Williams

Felipe Massa finished 12th and Valtteri Bottas 13th after a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix. Bottas made a great start running in fourth after the first lap whilst Massa struggled for pace in tenth. Massa was given a five-second penalty for being out of position on the grid and struggled after his first stop on the medium tyre. Bottas had a solid race but was hit from behind after the safety car restart resulting in a right-rear puncture.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “We weren’t where we expected to be today following the pace we had on Friday. It was an eventful race all round. Valtteri was unfortunately hit from behind through no fault of his own picking up a puncture, and without that could have been on the podium. Felipe’s tyres only worked in the final stint, and we need to investigate why that was as it made for a tough race for him. Results like this make us stronger as a group and we can go away and analyse what went wrong. Williams has been on a constant learning curve over the last 18 months and you have to take days like this with that. We now head into the next few races which will play to our strengths and we’ll aim to recuperate the points we lost today.

Felipe Massa: “That was a really challenging day for us. I got a penalty early on and then the medium tyre in traffic didn’t work well for me at all. It was uphill from there on. As a team we walked away with no points, which is a blow for the Championship, but something we now have to make up for.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a disappointing day to score no points. At the start of the race we were running in line with the pace of the car. There were plenty of opportunities to score well, but I suffered a puncture at the wrong time and from then on it was a struggle. It is important we move forward from this, have a good rest and arrive fresh and ready for Spa.”

Canada post race: Williams

Valtteri Bottas finished third and Felipe Massa sixth in today’s Canadian Grand Prix. Bottas capitalised on a mistake by Räikkönen to move into third after his first and only pitstop, subsequently showing strong pace to keep clear of the Ferrari to secure the team’s first podium of the season.

Starting out of position in P15 after problems in qualifying, Massa drove a brilliant race to pick his way through the field and secure valuable points for the team. The team has extended its hold on third position in the Constructors’ Championship with a total of 108 points for the season so far.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “The message I gave to the team this morning was that we have to go into this race believing in ourselves and be on the top of our game. If we did that I believed we could get on the podium with Valtteri and get a lot of points with Felipe, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The two drivers were absolutely fantastic all race. The team has worked well as a unit and the strategies were spot on. The rewards are there when you get it right and we need to use this as a good boost to keep moving forwards. We now have races ahead of us where we should be aiming for more podiums.”

Valtteri Bottas: “We really maximised everything today and I’m really happy for us as a team. We had an opportunity to get third and we took it. We had the chance to change the strategy in the middle of the race and go for one stop instead of two. We knew it could be a risk but the team knew what to do and we were right. There was not much threat from behind so we could take a bit of a risk, and I’m really proud that we did. We were racing hard today and we earned the podium. It’s great to be back in the top three and we know there are better Grands Prix to come because of the updates we are bringing so I can’t wait for the next few races.”

Felipe Massa: “After a challenging qualifying for me yesterday I’m happy with how the race has gone and I’ve picked up some good points. Starting P15 was always going to lead to a busy race and there was a lot of great overtaking and the car had good consistent pace. We managed to have a one stop race and still keep the pace with the option tyre at the end which was fantastic. With the car I had today I could have been fighting for podiums, but all in all this has been a very positive weekend for the team and we should be very competitive in the next few races, especially with some upgrades planned for the car.”

Monaco post race: Williams

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Saturday 23 May 2015. Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 Mercedes. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _89P0038

Felipe Massa (and bottom).

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Saturday 23 May 2015. Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW37 Mercedes. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _89P0913

Valtteri Bottas

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Saturday 23 May 2015. Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 Mercedes. Photo: Steven Tee/Williams ref: Digital Image _X0W1180

 

Valtteri Bottas finished 14th and Felipe Massa 15th in today’s Monaco Grand Prix. Massa made contact with another car at Turn 1 causing a front-right tyre puncture. His first lap pitstop for new tyres and a new front wing resulted in him re-joining at the back of the pack and unable to fight for any points.

Starting P16, Bottas struggled for pace and was further compromised by a late safety car. The team heads into the next race in Canada confident that the FW37 will show a marked improvement in performance and will be back challenging for points.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was quite a difficult weekend and we were nowhere near where we should be. At Monaco, if qualifying doesn’t go well you have partly made your bed so we knew getting points was going to be tough. It wasn’t a great race for us but we can’t dwell too much as we are out of position. We have to look at all areas to see what went wrong here with the inherent car performance and set-up. We cannot return here in 2016 and repeat this performance. We now have to focus firmly on the next three races. We have a really good package and some healthy upgrades coming soon so we look forward to coming back stronger in Canada.”

Valtteri Bottas: “This has been a tough weekend that ended in an even tougher race. We tried everything to try and get some points but with the pace we had it wasn’t possible today. We tried the two-stop strategy which never really came to us, with the safety car coming at just the wrong time. There are not too many positives from the weekend but plenty we can learn from as to why we struggled. We know we still have a good car and go to races in the next few weeks where we should be able to demonstrate our true performance.”

Felipe Massa: “Today was a very frustrating day and a race to forget for us. My race was effectively over in Turn 1, with another car pushing me over and I was left with a lot of damage to my tyre and front wing. The pitstop I had to make on Lap 1 put me right at the back of the pack and I spent the rest of the race looking out for blue flags. The car has not had its usual performance all weekend but we know that we are heading to tracks in Canada and Austria that suit our car and we should be back fighting towards the front.”

Too many vodkas...

Too many vodkas…

Monaco qualifying: Williams

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Felipe Massa, Williams F1. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _89P8735

Felipe Massa

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q5416

Valtteri Bottas

 

Felipe Massa qualified 14th and Valtteri Bottas 17th for the Monaco Grand Prix. Both drivers found it difficult to get the tyres up to temperature and found an overall lack of grip which hindered their ability to make it into Q3.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was clearly a tough qualifying session for us and we are out of our usual position. We have been pouring through the data all week to try and find ways to improve our pace here, and whilst we have made some inroads, qualifying has just come too soon for us to recover everything. Starting 14th and 17th in Monaco is never ideal because it so difficult to overtake, but we will see what we can do and the aim will be to get both cars home in the points.”

Felipe Massa: “There were no major issues during qualifying that caused us to be out of position; Monaco just isn’t a circuit that suits the characteristics of our car. We struggled throughout the day and found it hard to set the lap times we wanted. Tomorrow won’t be easy, but anything is possible due to the nature of the track. It’s not a great result as we have become used to qualifying higher, but I’m confident we can still get points and that must be our focus.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I had some traffic on my initial option run and couldn’t go at the sort of pace needed to keep the tyre temperatures correct, and on my timed lap I just lacked overall grip throughout the lap. We knew this track was not going to suit our car and we’ve been struggling to get the tyres to work throughout the weekend. Then again this is the sort of track where lots of things can happen and if we stay out of trouble and finish the race then points are still possible.”

 

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Wednesday 13 May 2015. Alex Lynn, Williams FW37 Mercedes.  World Copyright: Alastair Staley/Williams. ref: Digital Image _79P3668

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Felipe Massa, Williams F1. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q5227

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q5416

Valtteri Bottas, and below with team members.

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Thursday 21 May 2015. Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1. Photo: Steven Tee/Williams ref: Digital Image _X0W8251

 

Barcelona post race: Williams

Felipe Massa arrives on the grid.

Felipe Massa arrives on the grid.

 

Valtteri Bottas finished fourth and Felipe Massa sixth in today’s Spanish Grand Prix. Bottas’ long second stint on the option tyre allowed the team to change from a three-stop to a two-stop race, helping him to keep the closing Ferrari of Räikkönen at bay in the final laps. Massa managed to make up positions in the opening stint and drove an untroubled and consistent race to collect eight points for the team.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “Overall I’m pleased with the result today. The car has shown pretty good pace throughout the weekend and we wanted to see if we could convert that potential into points. There was a lot of talk about different teams bringing updates for this race with big gains. We have shown that our improvements have moved us forwards and this ended up being our closest finish to Ferrari. It was a good job by the aerodynamic team and all the people back at Grove, as well as an excellent operational performance from the team today, with good strategy choices and well executed pitstops. We need to keep heading in this direction and to keep finding additional performance gains in this package to help us challenge for podiums in future.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It feels good to split the Ferraris for a second race in a row and this has been another solid points haul for the team. Tyre life was better than we expected and as a result we changed from a three-stop to a two-stop race, which was a good strategic choice from the team because it allowed me to keep Räikkönen behind. The big positive is that we were closer to the leaders than we have been at any point this season. That gives me a lot of hope because we have shown that the updates we are bringing are improving our performance. I want to thank all the team here and in Grove for providing me with a great car to go racing with, and I’d also like to thank Mercedes HPP as they continue to push hard on the power unit to help us keep our competitors at bay.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a good race for the team, scoring 20 points, not losing too much to Ferrari, but also getting a lot more than Red Bull which is really important and positive for our championship position. I managed to overtake cars on the first lap and then fought hard with Kimi (Räikkönen) for a long time, which was hard on the tyres. Because of the extra degradation a three-stop race was better for me today, but it meant the others were too far ahead. We finished with one car in front of a Ferrari so we have shown that we can be competitive with them and we can now look forward to Monaco which will be a very different test for the car.”

 

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal.

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal.

Felipe Massa and Dave Robson, Race Engineer.

Felipe Massa and Dave Robson, Race Engineer.

Valtteri Bottas on the grid.

Valtteri Bottas on the grid.

Melbourne post race: Williams

_89P4145

 

Williams’ Felipe Massa finished fourth in today’s Australian Grand Prix. Starting in third and opting for a one-stop strategy, Massa lost a place to the Ferrari of Vettel after being jumped at the first pitstop, but after that showed consistent pace to bring the car home with 12 points to start the 2015 season. Valtteri Bottas was unable to race following a lower back injury sustained during qualifying. Following an evaluation by the FIA’s medical team and following a series of tests the FIA Medical Delegate deemed him unfit to take part in today’s race.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It’s always difficult to compete with only 50 per cent of your armoury with Valtteri having to miss the race, so today was about damage limitation in the Constructors’ Championship and we have managed to come away only a few points behind Ferrari which is a decent result. The team worked very well as a unit all weekend; the pitstop was good and so was the work on the pitwall. We made a decision to pit early because Vettel was a bit quicker behind us, but unfortunately this didn’t pay off for us. We are in a really competitive battle with the teams around us so this race is a marker for the rest of the season. We need to continue improving the car and getting maximum performance from what is a strong package.”

Felipe Massa: “The aim of today was to start the season with a solid points haul and demonstrate that we have a competitive car. We have managed to achieve much of what we wanted so this has been a positive start. The only disappointing part of the race was that I was jumped at the first pitstop by Vettel after losing a second and a half behind Ricciardo on my out-lap which was enough to lose the position. I have faith in the team and the car and we head to Malaysia knowing we are very much in the fight.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I have done a lot of work since the issue with my back came in qualifying to get myself ready, starting treatment immediately, so the news that I couldn’t race today was obviously disappointing but I respect the decision. I now have two weeks until the next race to receive further treatment to ensure I will be back to full fitness and even stronger in Malaysia. I’m very eager to get back in the car and race because the FW37 is looking competitive and I’m confident we can fight for podiums.”

 

_89P4448 _W2Q3824

2nd pre-season test: Day 1

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 1 -  Barcelona, Spain

 

Romain Grosjean resumed test duties in the Lotus E23 hybrid for the first day of the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Grosjean completed 75 laps over the course of a programme of set-up evaluations and performance simulations, in particular evaluating a new front suspension geometry. His best lap was a 1min 26.177secs.

Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Cool, cloudy, occasional rain, changeable. Ambient 8°C – 17°C Track 10°C – 24°C
Programme: Front suspension geometry evaluation, set-up assessments
Laps Completed: 75
Classification: P5, 1:26.177
Interruptions: Aero evaluation equipment removal.

Romain Grosjean: “We tried a lot of different set-ups today so there was a lot of returning to the garage for different things to be changed, which is all part of testing. The car’s been reliable again and we’ve gone through quite a bit of work even if the lap count isn’t as high as some other days – it’s all part of the learning process at a test.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We had a productive morning evaluating a new front suspension geometry, then we spent more time trying different set-ups in the afternoon. The E23 was once more reliable and we’ve collected plenty of data and good feedback from Romain. The track was damp for a while, so we avoided too much time on the circuit in those conditions as it’s not productive to be on circuit at those times for test purposes.”

 

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 1 -  Barcelona, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 1 -  Barcelona, Spain

 

 

Williams

Driver: Felipe Massa
Chassis/Engine: FW37-01/PU106B hybrid
Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 4.655km
Objectives: Aero and Chassis work
Weather: Overcast and dry
Air and track temps: 8 – 17ºC / 19 – 24ºC
Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer: “The programme was slightly upset by the rain in the morning, but that just meant we had more work to do in the afternoon. We managed to complete the planned schedule though and we have made some positive changes to the chassis, as well as some aero adjustments. We are now looking at what we will take to Australia to make sure we are prepared for the first race. It has been a good day, with no reliability issues.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a good day for us and the car behaved well. When we tried to use the new soft tyre we managed to get some quicker laps in. The FW37 never showed a sign of an issue and this has been the case since we arrived at the first test in Jerez. We are doing a lot of work and seem to be moving forward.”

Jerez tests: Day 4

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 4 - Jerez, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 4 - Jerez, Spain

 

Lotus concluded its first pre-season test at the Circuito de Jerez with Romain Grosjean getting his first taste of the E23 hybrid. Over the course of 53 laps, Romain set a best lap of 1min 23.802secs. The team continued with its installation and functionality checks as well as initial performance assessments. The team stopped running early after power unit running data showed that a problem was developing.

Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain, 4.4km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Cold and sunny. Ambient 10°C – 14°C Track 10°C – 16°C
Programme: Installation and functionality checks, initial performance assessment
Laps Completed: 53
Classification: P6, 1:23.802
Interruptions: Shutdown of power unit due to data showing developing problem.

The team will next appear in test action at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya on February 19-22.

Romain Grosjean:
“My first impressions of the E23 hybrid are good. Both the power unit and the chassis are going in the right direction. I completed over fifty laps today and I can honestly say that all of them were enjoyable to drive. The team has made very good progress if you consider where we were this time last year. It’s a very good start and I’m a happy driver.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director:
“Even though it’s been an early end to our final day of running in Jerez, we’ve made fantastic progress over the past few days. We fired up the E23 hybrid for the first time at Enstone last Saturday night, ran it for the first time on Monday, then completed a very useful haul of laps over the course of the test. Both Romain and Pastor have declared themselves happy with the car and we have a clear direction for future developments. Today we finished early as analysis of power unit running data suggested a problem was developing. The power unit will now return to Brixworth for a full investigation. We have a busy week ahead of us at Enstone to make further progress with the E23 and we’re particularly looking forward to the next test in Barcelona.”

 

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 4 - Jerez, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 4 - Jerez, Spain

 

Williams

Driver: Felipe Massa
Chassis/Engine: FW37-01/PU106B hybrid
Location: Jerez de la Frontera 4.428km
Objectives: Aero work, systems and reliability checks
Weather: Mild and dry
Air and track temps: 9 – 14ºC / 8 – 16ºC

Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer:

“Today was another trouble-free day and so we completed our programme for the week. Today’s focus was on aero and mechanical set-up, as well as working through systems reliability. We have highlighted areas we need to improve before Barcelona and leave here with a reliable package that is straightforward to work with. I think we are all very happy.”

Felipe Massa:

“The FW37 once again proved how reliable it was with an error free day. The car has been consistent over the last four days and we have made good progress. We have highlighted certain areas that need work and so will make sure the car is improving every time we take to the track. We have our feet on the ground and are focused on making this car quicker when testing continues in Barcelona.”

Jerez tests: Day 3

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 3 - Jerez, Spain Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 3 - Jerez, Spain

 

Lotus enjoyed a productive day of testing at the Circuito de Jerez with Pastor Maldonado completing 96 laps, setting a best time of 1min 22.713secs. The team continued with installation and functionality checks with the E23 hybrid as well as initial performance assessments. Romain Grosjean got his first taste of the E23 on day 4.

Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain, 4.4km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Cold and cloudy. Ambient 11°C – 15°C Track 12°C – 16°C
Programme: Installation and functionality checks, initial performance assessment
Laps Completed: 96
Classification: P5, 1:22.713
Interruptions: Telemetry power issue delayed first run in the morning.

What’s next?

Pastor Maldonado:
“It was a good day and we’ve learnt a lot more about the E23. The car feels strong and we know there’s more to come. We’re still checking all the systems and learning how everything works, but I’m very happy with progress over the last two days. We were able to run with different tyre compounds today so there’s a good basis for knowing where we need to look in terms of set-up. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the car in Barcelona.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“We’ve completed a solid programme today and been able to log a lot of data as we begin our initial understanding of the E23. Yesterday’s issues were quickly diagnosed and rectified and today we’ve run very reliably with only a connection issue to delay our first run this morning. Pastor’s jumped straight back into the car after the winter break and has given us everything we’ve needed over the last two days, now we’re looking forward to Romain getting his first taste of the car tomorrow.”

 

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 3 - Jerez, Spain

 

Williams

Driver: Felipe Massa

Chassis/Engine: FW37-01/PU106B hybrid
Location: Jerez de la Frontera 4.428km
Objectives: Aero work, systems and reliability checks
Weather: Damp in the morning, overcast and mild
Air and track temps: 11 – 15ºC / 11 – 16ºC

Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer:

“It’s been another good day and good to have Felipe get his first drive of the FW37 today. We have started to do a little more chassis work as we continue to work through our plan. Felipe gave us very much the same feedback as Valtteri did, so it’s pleasing that they share the same views and characteristics as each other on the FW37. Overall it’s been a positive day.”

Felipe Massa:

“I am happy after a good first day in the car. The FW37 is another step forward from where we left the FW36, which is promising. I am also confident in the car set-up. The feeling in the car was good even for a first impression and it’s well balanced. We lost a bit of time in the morning due to the wet weather so hopefully tomorrow we can continue to get the miles in and head to Barcelona well prepared.”

 

Chinese GP – Williams

Valtteri Bottas finished seventh and Felipe Massa 15th in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Valterri Bottas

Valterri Bottas

Felipe had a great start but then made contact with a defending Fernando Alonso, whilst Valtteri was hit by Nico Rosberg who was braking hard in response to the action ahead. Felipe recovered to sixth with Valtteri in eighth before the first round of pitstops but a problem in Felipe’s first pitstop then dropped him to the back of the field. Valtteri meanwhile chased the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg eventually finishing just half a second behind, as Felipe fought hard to gain positions back to 15th.

Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance:

“It’s bittersweet really as the car was quick. We had a good strategy and the team worked well together. It’s a real shame for Felipe and the whole team about the pitstop and it is something that we need to investigate to ensure it doesn’t happen again, as it cost us points today. To have one car in the top ten shows that we have the pace and that gives us continued optimism, so we will take the positives forward to Spain.”

Rob Smedley

Rob Smedley

Valtteri Bottas:

“It was a good race for me despite some hard contact at the start which cost me a few positions. I also had to drive the whole race without telemetry which isn’t the easiest thing to do. We made progress over the whole weekend which is good. It’s great to make steps forward and we are looking to do the same in Spain in a three weeks’ time.”

Felipe Massa:

“I had another great start today and we were fighting at the top. I felt some contact with Fernando but luckily the car wasn’t damaged so I could carry on. There was a mistake at the first pitstop and that effectively lost me the race as I came back out on track in last position. It is a frustrating situation and something we need to work on to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. We have time now to work hard and improve the car for Spain.”

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa

Major overhaul at Williams

Well, quite a change in engineering. Half expected Felipe Massa’s race engineer at Ferrari, the celebrated Mr Rob Smedley to reappear at Williams but wasn’t sure in what capacity.

Rob Smedley

Rob Smedley

In interviews Mr S had indicated ‘negotiations’ were in progress but we didn’t really know whether these were for a continued presence within Ferrari or a new position at Grove.

Now we know, and it’s a major leg up for Rob as Head of Vehicle Performance, a newly created position which will strengthen the trackside team whilst also supporting the development work back at the factory to help bring more performance to the car throughout the season. Rob’s proven track record and experience stand him in good stead for the challenges that 2014 bring.

Rob will join Williams before the Bahrain Grand Prix and he’s more than ably supported by race engineers Andrew Murdoch (Felipe Massa) and Jonathan Eddolls (who remains with Valtteri Bottas).

Richard Lockwood completes the trackside operation line-up, joining the team from Marussia as Head of Race Strategy. Richard will work with current strategist Randeep Singh who remains with the team for the 2014 season.

Commenting on the new line-up Chief Technical Officer, Pat Symonds said:

“Williams is undergoing change and these new appointments reflect how high our ambitions are. We have a number of senior people joining us to assist us in the pursuit of those ambitions and I am extremely excited to welcome them on board.

“2014 gives us the biggest change to the technical regulations that I have seen in my career, and so it will be important to add further depth to the talent we already have here as we head into the new season. Williams has always prided itself on engineering excellence and this latest announcement is part of our continued goal to bring success back to the team.”

It certainly is. Quite a change which really could help Williams regain its success. Let’s hope so.

Group CEO Mike O' Driscoll (l) with Pat Symonds

Group CEO Mike O’ Driscoll (l) with Pat Symonds

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