In recent years, Williams, a reputable team with nine constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ championships, has seemingly lost its way and endured a torrid time predominantly at the back of the midfield of the Formula 1 grid.
In 2011 they suffered their worst ever season, scoring a mere five points. Things were looking better in 2012, when at the Spanish Grand Prix Williams driver, Pastor Maldonado, won the race.
This ended a 130 race winless streak for the team. However, in 2013 they had another dismal year, again only accumulating a total of five points.
2014 could potentially be a turning point for the team, which could see them return to the top of the sport.
The regulation changes coming into force for next year will be a good opportunity for a team like Williams to make ground on the cars that were ahead of them in 2013. The last big regulation change, in 2009, saw Brawn GP and Red Bull emerge to the front of the pack.
As well as the changes to regulations, the team itself will undergo several alterations. The departure of Pastor Maldonado to Lotus had made way for Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.
Massa has won 11 races in his career and almost won the drivers’ championship in 2008. He brings with him a wealth of experience, something which will be valuable to Williams.
The team have decided to retain Valtteri Bottas who has shown promise in his debut season, especially after his performances in qualifying in Canada and the race in Austin.
It is believed that Rob Smedley will be following Felipe Massa from Ferrari to Williams. The team’s current chief race engineer, Xevi Pujolar, has moved to Torro Rosso, which has left the door open for Smedley’s arrival.
Another seemingly beneficial change for Williams is that they will switch from Renault engines to Mercedes for next year. Of course, it is difficult to say which manufacturer’s engine will be the best in 2014, but paddock rumour suggests that currently Mercedes have the upper hand.
As the regulation changes are predominantly engine based, a switch to the Mercedes power-units may just provide Williams with what they need to return to the front of the pack.
With Bottas who is hungry for success and Massa bringing experience to the team, Williams certainly will be going into the 2014 season with their best chance in recent years to return to the top of the sport!
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