The 2011 season was a torrid one for the Williams team; they never had a fast enough car and the team which was used to bringing home poles, podiums and championships found itself regularly fighting to reach the second session of qualifying.
The team has produced seven world champions and has secured nine constructors titles but only secured five points this season – from finishes at Monaco, Montreal and Spa.
…ninth in the championship…
This placed them comprehensively ninth in the championship standings only ahead of Lotus-Renault, HRT and Virgin who are accepted as being new boys to the F1 game and lack the prestige and credibility of the Williams marque.
It is important, therefore, that the team looks to the 2012 season with a very different outlook and puts previous form behind them.
…40-year old veteran…
This has meant releasing Rubens Barrichello, a 40-year old veteran of the sport with proven pace and experience, despite the Brazilian’s desire to stay with the team.
He has been replaced by fellow countryman Bruno Senna who will join Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in Williams colours. This pairing brings significant funding and youth but also inexperience to the set up.
…some questionable on-track actions…
Both Maldonado and Senna were involved in some questionable on-track actions last year and will need to establish their credentials with some reliable, mature – and preferably point-scoring – drives.
Senna has experience from Formula 3, GP2 and Le Mans series racing but news of his contract with Williams has tended to be overshadowed by his youth and also his uncle. It was while driving for Williams in 1994 that Ayrton Senna – a racing prodigy and three-time world champion – lost his life.
…new set-up will be enough…
Alongside the new driver line-up Williams has brought in a new chief engineer, aerodynamicist and technical director and the team evidently hopes that the new set-up will be enough to bounce back from the worst season in the team’s history.
Image courtesy of SuperMac1961