Posts filed under ‘Williams’

FIA botch fuel decision

Unbelievable. What next?

At the cost of millions of pounds the FIA World Motorsport Council took two days to rule than McLaren’s appeal into the fuel irregularities of BMW and Williams was illegal. Two days? What the hell were they doing?

So what are the implications of the decision?

Well, the public objective of McLaren, namely wanting “rule clarification”,  has been thwarted as by throwing out the appeal the FIA could not adjudicate on whether of not the accused committed an offense. This will put the FIA in a very tricky spot next time this issue raises its ugly head. Are F1 teams now allowed to ignore fuel temperature differences? It would appear so. If any team is punished next season for the same offense then the decision of both the stewards at Interlagos and the FIA will seem hypocritical and laughable.

The other bone of contention is that no one connected with the sport wanted the title decided in court. I don’t think that is precisely correct — that may have been the view a month ago but we are where we are.  What people didn’t want was another FIA dodge, which we got. Forever more this non-ruling will leave a fug of uncertainty surrounding the 2007 championship. One other aspect that was particularly distasteful was the pressure applied to the FIA by F1 ringmasters Max Mosely and Bernie Ecclestone. This is supposed to be an independent court. Butt out. Imagine if in the US at the trial of a serial rapist the President said that he thought the offender deserved to go to death row … the President would likely end up in the slammer too.

One bright point is that Kimi Raikonnen deservedly emerges as World Champion. He was the fastest driver over the year (although possibly not the best) and is a genuinely good bloke. However, all the off track shenanigans will make this title seem slightly false. He’ll just have to go and win another one next year.

Bring on 2008 so we can finally put this fiasco behind us.


November 17, 2007 at 4:56 am Leave a comment

2007 Review: Williams

This is the fifth in F1-Pitlane’s multi-part season review of each constructor. Today we look at Willaims who have fallen a long way in the last decade. The question is will they rise again?

The car

A decade ago the Williams team were double world champions led by the irascible Jacques Villeneuve. To say the team has gone through a barren spell is a gross understatement. A partnership with BMW looked at one point to have rekindled the glory days but the German engine supplier wanted a larger say in running the team, which Frank Williams was not prepared to give, so BMW bolted into the grateful arms of Sauber. Last year Williams ran Cosworth engines, when quite frankly, not taking part in any races at all may have been preferable.

This years marks a fresh start as the car is now powered by Toyota engines in a deal that saw Toyota get access to Williams’ seamless shift gearbox. The team performed admirably, proving that the Toyota engine is actually half decent. The biggest achievement was simply getting to the chequered flag. Only three times in 2007 did a Williams retire compared to 11 in 2006.

The drivers

If it wasn’t for one young Briton monopolising the pitlane chatter Nico Rosberg, Williams’ number one driver, would be receiving more of the plaudits. His performance in 2007 was astonishing as he comprehensively outraced his team mate Alex Wurz, who became so demotivated that he was forced into retirement before the end of the season.

Rosberg put in some gutsy performances, no more apparent (and controversial) than his efforts in the final GP of the season at Interlagos. He fended off the challenge of the BMWs to finish a gusty fourth. Although Rosberg was easily the better driver it was Wurz who had Williams’ best result of the year with a podium at Montreal.

The outlook

With the marriage of manufacturers to engine suppliers being a feature of F1 over the last 10 years, Williams have been left at the alter without a bride. This means that they are fighting squarely in the midfield and likely don’t have the financial resources to haul themselves back among the contenders.

Saying that their alliance with Toyota holds promise and with the ever stringent regulations engines are becoming a less defining feature of the car. The battleground these days is aerodynamics. That gives some hope but more than hope is required to catch the top three teams. Williams think they are ready to take a big step and have publicly declared their car “revolutionary” — Honda tried that last year and it only hastened their move to the back of the grid. Expect some progress next year but a couple of podiums is as good as it will get.

November 11, 2007 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

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