Posted on April 3, 2014


Why was McLaren faster than Ferrari in Melbourne, but slower in Malaysia? And how much faster was Valterri Bottas than his Williams team-mate Felipe Massa in Sunday’s Grand Prix – enough to make a pass on Jenson Button ahead, as the team believed? With the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan we can attempt to answer these questions, thanks to the latest performance graphs. NB – The vertical axis is the lap time in seconds, with the faster lap times lower down and the slower ones higher up. Click on the graphs to enlarge them. McLaren vs More…

Posted on March 6, 2014


Williams today officially announced their much predicted partnership with Martini, taking the drinks brand on as a title sponsor and rebranding the team Williams Martini Racing. It has been common knowledge in Formula One for some months that the Grove squad would tie-up with the Italian company and bring an iconic colour scheme last seen on the 1975 Brabham back to the sport. The team, formerly under the sponsorship banner of Venezuelan oil company PDVSA through its association with Pastor Maldonado, has suffered in terms of results in recent years but a switch to Mercedes-power this season has been a More…

Posted on February 25, 2014


Following months of speculation that Rob Smedley would follow Felipe Massa to Williams F1, the former Ferrari engineer has today been announced as Head of Vehicle Performance at the Grove squad. He will join the team between the Malaysian and Bahrain Grands Prix. Smedley will take up a newly created position in the team, working alongside engineers trackside while assisting with the of the FW36 development across the season. His engineering experience will also see him support Andrew Murdoch and Jonathan Eddolls, the respective race engineers of Massa and Valtteri Bottas. The team also announced that in an effort to More…

Posted on February 24, 2014


Susie Wolff will become the first female driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend for over 20 years when she drives the Williams in two Free Practice sessions, the team has announced. Wolff, who has been part of the back room driving staff at Williams since 2012, drove in the Young Drivers Test at Silverstone last July and has been given the opportunity to get some more mileage, under the spotlights of a Grand Prix weekend. The team has not specified which two events she will participate in. She will also get a full test day at one More…

Posted on February 22, 2014


If ever there was a case study of how quickly things can change in F1, it is the Williams team. They won the Spanish Grand Prix in May 2012, failed to get a podium for the rest of the season, then had a dismal 2013 with only 5 points scored (four of them in the penultimate race). Now the signs are that Williams is going through a renaissance; the team has the right hybrid turbo power plant in Mercedes and it’s announced a series of sponsors in recent days with an even bigger one to come on March 6. It More…

Posted on February 2, 2014


Felipe Massa ended the Jerez test, his first for Williams, in an upbeat mood describing the situation at Williams as “better than expected” and tipping his former team mate Fernando Alonso to have the upper hand at Ferrari over his replacement Kimi Raikkonen. Asked by Italian media why he he had said Alonso would come out on top Massa said, “Because he is very intelligent, he’s already worked out the new regulations and he knows what he needs to do to be quick straight away. He combines talent with savvy. He has a lively intelligence and that is what is More…

Posted on January 31, 2014


What a difference four days make. We’ve gone from that slightly eerie day one silence, which was only sporadically broken by the sound of a car heading out for a single lap before gingerly returning to the garage, to a cacophony of V6 engines pounding out laps here in Jerez today – unless, of course the power unit in the back of your car was a Renault. It was always going to be a fascinating week, but few could have predicted just how many talking points would crop up as the days wore on. A nightmare start for Renault; questions More…

Posted on January 31, 2014


As the first pre-season test of 2014 drew to a close at a gloomy Jerez and the teams began to pack up and contemplate the warmer climes of Bahrain at the next test on February 19, it was Felipe Massa who topped of the timesheet, the Williams driver finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Force India’s Daniel Juncadella. And for Red Bull Racing there will be much to contemplate, as the team again ended running early. After completing seven laps in the morning, with Daniel Ricciardo again at the wheel, the team encountered mechanical trouble. Deeming the issue unresolvable More…

Posted on May 30, 2013


Williams has confirmed the recent speculation that it will switch from Renault to Mercedes engines next season when the new 1.6 litre hybrid turbo engines come in. Mercedes believe that they have a class leading engine and powertrain and Williams believe that this will set them up well for improving their long term competitiveness. The Mercedes is believed to also be slightly cheaper than the Renault unit. There is a lot of unhappiness among the teams outside the top four about the cost of the new hybrid turbo engines. The manufacturers have committed vast sums to develop them and want More…

Posted on May 29, 2013


The upheaval of the management of the Williams F1 team continues in the wake of Toto Wolff’s departure to become motorsport director of Mercedes; CEO Alex Burns has left the company to be replaced by former Janguar and Aston Martin boss Mike O’Driscoll. O’Driscoll is no stranger to Williams having sat as a non-executive director since 2011. He has a wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts from the automotive industry and will act as Group CEO in a new structure which pulls Williams Hybrid Engineering into the same management group as the F1 team. He will work alongside the recently More…

Posted on March 27, 2013


Williams F1 has today confirmed the recent paddock speculation that Claire Williams has become Deputy Team Principal, with the objective of succeeding her father one day. Claire has worked within the F1 team for over ten years, starting out as a junior in the media department, rising to become head of communications and more recently a director and head of the commercial side of the team and of Investor Relations. She is the third person to be lined up as Sir Frank’s successor in the last few years; Adam Parr was anointed heir, but Williams realised his fractious relationship with More…

Posted on March 8, 2013


Lady Virginia Williams, wife of Williams F1 Team founder Sir Frank, has died at the age of 66 after a battle with cancer. According to a statement from the team, “Lady Virginia, or ‘Ginny’ as she was better known, died peacefully at the family home last night surrounded by Frank and the rest of the Williams family. Ginny had been bravely battling cancer for the past two and a half years. Ginny will always be an integral part of Williams’ history and success, and today we pay tribute to a much loved member of the Williams family who will be More…

Posted on February 19, 2013


The new Williams FW35 was revealed today, the last of the 2013 cars to break cover. The team opted to test at Jerez with the 2012 model to give more time for development of the FW35 and to get a baseline understanding on the new Pirelli tyres, using a car they know and understand. It’s not ideal to lose a four day test session with the new car, when there are only eight more days testing before the first Grand Prix in Melbourne, but Williams has gone this route – the only team to do so – and will hope More…

Posted on November 28, 2012


Williams F1 Team today confirmed the line-up for 2013 which had been suspected for some time – Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas. The promotion to a race seat of the 23 year old Finn, a protege of Williams’ shareholder Toto Wolff, is an exciting step for F1, as he has impressed with his Friday morning test performances at Grands Prix this year. He won the GP3 championship in 2011 and has been with Williams in a reserve driver capacity since 2010. Williams did a similar programme with Nico Hulkenberg, giving him several years as an apprentice with the team before More…

Posted on November 12, 2012


Pastor Maldonado may have endured a season of wildly fluctuating fortunes but one area in which the Williams driver has consistently impressed has been in qualifying. Whereas team-mate Bruno Senna has only made Q3 once in 18 attempts, Maldonado has reached the top 10 on 11 occasions, burnishing his reputation as a one-lap specialist by starting inside the front two rows four times. The most noticeable thing about his two most recent top-four starts, in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, was his lap-time improvement between Q2 and Q3:  the Venezuelan finding the best part of seven and eight tenths in the More…

Posted on November 8, 2012


Williams executive director Toto Wolff insists the team has not yet decided which two drivers it will pair together in 2013, with the option of retaining the current line-up “one of the possibilities”. Incumbents Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna have both experienced mixed seasons, part explaining why the team sits only eighth in the constructors’ championship despite a big step forward in car performance, although the former has delivered the more eye-catching results with a win in Barcelona and a number of impressive Q3 laps. Senna by comparison has consistently struggled to match Maldonado’s qualifying feats, yet has been the More…

Posted on November 7, 2012


Welcome to the JA on F1 podcast for November, brought to you by UBS. This month we have something a bit special. We went to Paris to quiz FIA president Jean Todt on the key subjects of the moment in F1 – the new higher team entry fees, 2014 engines and whether Bernie Ecclestone will have more of a say in making the F1 rules in future, “I will never allow things which are under our responsibility to be dealt with by anyone else,” he says forthrightly. And we have a behind-the-scenes special with the Williams F1 team. Bruno Senna More…

Posted on October 17, 2012


Susie Wolff today put women F1 drivers back on the agenda when she completed two 75 minute track sessions at Silverstone, driving a Williams FW33 from last year. Wolff’s opportunity was the showcase event in Williams F1′s partner day, which also saw Bruno Senna at the wheel of Keke Rosberg’s 1982 championship winning car and Pastor Maldonado driving Damon Hill’s 1996 title winner. Susie Wolff has extensive DTM experience but this was her first time in an F1 car and it passed off well, in her two runs and she admitted that thoughts of F1′s other female test driver, Maria More…

Posted on September 5, 2012


One of the collateral effects of the one race ban on Romain Grosjean for causing the startline pile up at Spa, is to ask questions about how Pastor Maldonado has so far avoided a similar ban. Maldonado again firmly found himself under fire for his driving in Belgium with the Williams driver picking up penalties for three separate offences over the Spa weekend. It has raised questions about whether F1 should move towards a system of yellow cards, as in football, where an automatic ban is imposed once a certain number of yellow cards have been accrued. While Romain Grosjean’s More…

Posted on August 8, 2012


Bruno Senna’s performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix shows the Brazilian is beginning to finally come of age in F1, reckons his team boss Frank Williams. While the wildly contrasting fortunes of Pastor Maldonado have dominated Williams’ season, Senna’s quiet efficiency in delivering a steady stream of the minor points finishes has ensured the Grove team remain ahead of Force India in the constructors’ table. Senna’s main weakness up until the Hungaroring had been matching Maldonado’s qualifying performances but in Budapest the former HRT and Renault driver finally hauled his FW34 into Q3 for the first time and then raced More…

Posted on July 24, 2012


Toto Wolff has increased his influence over the Williams F1 team by stepping up to an executive position on the board. The Austrian, who has been a minority shareholder of the company since 2009, will “assist” Sir Frank Williams in his role as team principal. Clearly over time he has come to gain Williams’ trust and as the company changes, with Patrick Head retiring and anointed successor Adam Parr being moved on, Wolff will understudy Williams, who is now 70 years old. One of his tasks will be to find strong partners to take the team forwards. It is over-reliant More…

Posted on May 17, 2012


Pastor Maldonado took the time to speak to selected media today in a Williams phone in. The Venezuelan sounded upbeat, but also forward looking as he wants to repeat the success again as soon as possible, perhaps in Monaco, “For sure we will do our best. The teams are so close, the championship is so close, but we are getting better and better,” he said. “At the moment we don’t have the quickest car in the track. But why not. F1 is changing every time, it will be difficult but we will try. The Williams looks a front running package More…

Posted on April 11, 2012


Formula 1 now has two female development drivers after Williams announced that experienced DTM campaigner Susie Wolff – the wife of team shareholder Toto Wolff – has joined the team. Several weeks after Marussia signed Spaniard Maria de Villota to a similar position, Williams has taken on the Scottish-born driver who has spent the last six seasons competing in German touring cars, achieving a best finishing position of seventh on two occasions in that time. The 29-year-old had previously raced in British-based single-seater categories including F3 and Formula Renault 2.0 and team owner Frank Williams said that in addition to More…

Posted on March 26, 2012


Williams has been forced into another change of senior management after its chairman Adam Parr announced on Monday that he is quitting the team after over five years. The unexpected news was delivered early on Monday morning, with team owner Sir Frank Williams pointing to Parr’s desire to achieve “a better balance in his life” for the decision to cut his ties with Grove which stretch back to 2006. Former CFO of alcoholic drinks firm Diageo Nick Rose will take over as non-executive chairman with Parr’s leaving date set as this coming Friday (March 30). After joining the team as More…

Posted on May 13, 2011


F1 drivers these days tend to keep strong opinions to themselves, not wishing to stick their heads above the parapet. Like all professional sportsmen they will speak out if another driver cuts them up on the track, or about a rule change which doesn’t suit the drivers, but when it comes to big issues they clam up. This is especially true in issues such as whether F1 should go to race in Bahrain in the current climate, for example. It is rare for a driver to have a go at his own team these days, as Rubens Barrichello has done More…

Posted on May 10, 2011


Williams F1 team has announced its results for the 2010 financial year and it shows that while the team’s turnover has shrunk from £108.3 million to £91 million – a drop of 8.5%, its profits increased by 28% from £4.5 million to £5.8 million. At the same time it has announced that it is collaborating with Jaguar, now owned by Tata Motors, on the hybrid supercar, C-X75. The team floated some of the shares on the Franfurt stock exchange in March, the method by which founder and engineering boss Patrick Head could make his exit. These have fluctuated quite a More…

Posted on May 2, 2011


It pains many in Formula 1 to see the Williams team’s difficult start to the season. Around for over 30 years, responsible for some of the most celebrated moments of F1 history, they are still popular with millions of fans and are many people’s second favourite team. But there is no getting away from the fact that the beginning of 2011 has not been kind to them. Like Ferrari and Mercedes they are a team which looked better in pre-season testing than in the races and, like Ferrari and Mercedes, the pressure is on to fix it, starting this weekend More…

Posted on February 9, 2011


Tomorrow (Thursday 10 February) sees the start of the second official F1 test at Jerez in Spain, a faster circuit than Valencia which hosted the first outing. Everyone except Hispania will have new cars on test. Already we have seen some interesting solutions on some of the cars as well as some high degradation on the new Pirelli tyres. Valencia was mainly about bedding in new technology, in Jerez we will start to see some performance. In this exclusive video, which I shot on Monday at Williams, technical director Sam Michael talks about the tyre degradation, the other cars and More…

Posted on January 21, 2011


Williams plans to make a significant change to the structure of the team to secure it for the future, by announcing that he and his partners plan to float the F1 team on the stock market. Williams objective is to “secure the long term ownership of Williams” in a way that remains true to the ideals with which Frank Williams and Patrick Head started the team in 1977. This involves remaining independent for the long term, beyond the time when Williams and Head are no longer around. Consideration has no doubt been given to selling equity in the team to More…

Posted on January 15, 2011


The Williams team is in Venezuela at the moment and today the team announced the long-awaited tie up with PDVSA, the state owned oil company. It is a massive boost to the team, which said goodbye to important sponsors RBS and Philips at the end of last season. Venezuela has the world’s sixth largest oil reserves and is in the top ten oil exporters. It has by far the largest oil business of any Central or South American country. “They are a substantial partner and can make a meaningful difference to our fighting ability,” said the team’s figurehead, Frank Williams. More…

Posted on January 1, 2011


Williams F1 team, 0 wins, 1 pole, 6th in Constructors’ championship Williams is considered the weather vane of F1 – if it is in reasonable shape, then F1 is in good shape. The team struggled during the manufacturer era, whereas this moment should be good for the team, with the Resource Restriction Agreement pulling the staff numbers and resources of the leading teams down. The team is definitely in transition from the late Frank Williams/Patrick Head days to the Adam Parr/Sam Michael days. This means everything from finding sponsors and drivers to technical direction. In practice it has been this More…

Posted on November 15, 2010


Williams has announced today that the team will drop promising rookie Nico Hulkenberg for next season. At the same time it was confirmed that Rubens Barrichello will race on for the team in 2011, and unprecedented 19th season of F1 competition. Hulkenberg’s spectacular pole position in Brazil last week, where he set nine consecutive best sector times, was not enough to save his drive, in the face of the expected arrival of GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado, who has extensive backing from the Venezuelan government. Barrichello’s contract was signed some time ago but was not announced as the team worked hard More…

Posted on October 30, 2009


Sir Frank Williams has confirmed that his team will use the Cosworth engine next season and is set to announce his driver line up of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg on Monday. All three decisions show that Williams is pointing forwards with confidence. This weekend they have announced a strategic tie up here in the Middle East with the Qatar Science and Technology Park, where Williams will establish a Williams Technology Centre. Two F1 related R&D programmes will be carried out there; one into the flywheel energy regeneration system they have been working on for a couple of years now, More…



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