|Team||Williams Martini Racing|
|Power Unit||Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid|
Williams Martini Racing
The Williams Martini Racing Team are without doubt one of the sport’s ‘old guard’. Only two teams – Ferrari and McLaren – have competed in more Grands Prix than Williams and only they have won more World Championships than the 16 accumulated by Williams. However recent years have been less kind to the team than its contemporaries.
Only two of the team’s 114 victories and only three of its 297 podium finishes have come within the last decade. Those rare highlights include the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix in 2008, when a delighted Nico Rosberg took second place and their last win, when Pastor Maldonado dominated the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix to take a comfortable victory from pole position.
Pastor Maldonado’s performance was once described by a team insider as being like dropping a match into a box of fireworks. Frequently spectacular, but equally unpredictable – and likely to blow up in your face. The mercurial Maldonado has moved on for 2014 and the Williams team has scored a coup, signing Felipe Massa on his release from Ferrari.
Massa, like Williams, has suffered difficult years recently, as his Ferrari team aligned itself around Fernando Alonso. The Brazilian is keen to demonstrate he has lost none of his racing ability and his knowledge and experience is a perfect match for younger team-mate Valtteri Bottas of Finland, whose natural pace was hidden for much of 2013 by a Williams car which failed to match expectations.
That the Williams team has the resources to turn-around their fortunes is beyond doubt. Outside Formula One™, the team’s technical campus at Grove, near Oxford in England provides cutting-edge technologies to both the motor industry and elsewhere.
This season too sees a switch from Renault to Mercedes power units and behind the scenes there has been some astute management changes, including Sir Frank Williams shifting an increasing amount of team direction to his daughter Claire. She, along with test driver Susie Wolff, have already demonstrated that women can work well in top roles in Formula One™. Their next big challenge is to return Willams to the winners circle.