F1 2015 team preview: Williams Martini Racing

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Williams Martini Racing

Drivers
No. 77 Valtteri Bottas
No. 19 Felipe Massa

First Race: 1978 Argentine Grand Prix
Grands Prix: 619
Pole Positions: 
128
Fastest Laps: 
133
Race Wins: 
114
Constructors’ Championships: 
9
2014 Championship Result: 
3rd (320 points)

After spending a decade in the doldrums, Williams came back with a vengeance in 2014. The British team made a clean break with the past, canning all negativity and ushering in a new backroom team under the leadership of technical director Pat Symonds. The switch to Mercedes engines was an inspired one, with Felipe Massa’s arrival also giving the team some much-needed experience as it soared to third place in the constructors’ championship with nine podium finishes in total.

For 2015, the team will be looking for bigger and better things. Valtteri Bottas was one of the breakout stars of 2014, and he is now chasing a maiden grand prix victory. The flying Finn has already won the attention of Mercedes, being named as a possible replacement for Lewis Hamilton should the Briton not renew his contract. Both he and Massa must remain focused this year and try to pick up the pieces in the wake of a Mercedes collapse should it occur, and judging by pre-season testing, the FW37 is leading the way for P2 in the constructors’ championship.

VALTTERI BOTTAS No. 77

If the Williams chassis is up to it, and judging by preseason testing it should be, Bottas could become a first-time Grand Prix winner in 2015. The nice thing about Bottas is that he doesn’t go out of his way to hide his hunger. While podiums at Spielberg and Silverstone were nice surprises, podiums by Abu Dhabi were expected. Compared to Ricciardo, who’s facing a new inter-team rival, Bottas and Felipe Massa should mesh even better for their second season together. He’s fast, focused, very good in terms of feedback and determined to improve upon what was already a breakout 2014 season.

FELIPE MASSA No. 19

Massa’s career took a positive turn in 2014 after he left Ferrari, faring far better than his replacement Kimi Raikkonen and looking far more relaxed with Williams. He certainly missed out on a number of big points-scoring opportunities, but many of these incidents were out of his control. A victory so nearly came in Abu Dhabi at the end of the year, and should Mercedes drop the ball in 2015, you can count on Massa to be there to pick it up. He may never reach the lofty heights of his near-miss for the title in 2008, but 2015 could prove to be one of the best years in Massa’s F1 career.