After proving that the upturn in fortunes in 2014 wasn’t a one-off, Williams enters 2016 hoping to build on the success of last year and cement its place as one of Formula 1’s front-running teams.
Quite how much more can be achieved given the strength and budgets of the manufacturers remains to be seen. That said, if any team is going to break the Mercedes-Ferrari stranglehold at the front of the pack, one would expect it to be Williams.
TEAM: Williams Martini Racing
CAR: Williams FW38
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Laps Led: 20
Drivers’ Championship Positions: 5th (Valtteri Bottas); 6th (Felipe Massa)
Constructors’ Championship Position: 3rd
77. Valtteri Bottas (FIN)
19. Felipe Massa (BRA)
2015 TEAM RECAP
For ‘Williams 2015’, see ‘Williams 2014’. Last year was very much a case of the same again. After ending a barren few years of form and finishing third in the constructors’ championship in 2014, Williams did it again in 2015 with relative ease. Red Bull’s struggles meant it had little competition from behind, while Ferrari grew in strength through the season, putting P2 out of reach. Both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were solid if unspectacular, with the only opportunity to take the fight to Mercedes being squandered when the team played it safe with strategy at Silverstone.
It is difficult to see Williams moving any further forward this year. Pre-season testing pointed to big gains by both Mercedes and Ferrari, appearing to leave the rest of the pack a step behind. Williams will be wary of the renewed fight from Red Bull this year, with the Renault power unit’s issues reportedly being remedied to some end. If anything, a ‘boring’ third-place finish for the third year in a row might be the best thing for Williams, allowing it to focus on prepping for the regulation change in 2017 and giving Valtteri Bottas to car to become a grand prix winner – if it can hold on to the Finn, that is.