‘What has happened to Williams?’ – Eddie Jordan tears into ‘unacceptable’ situation

Jamie Woodhouse
Eddie Jordan and Alex Albon's wrecked Williams at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Eddie Jordan and Williams driver Alex Albon.

Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan tore into Williams after they did not bring a spare chassis to the Australian Grand Prix, as he reflected on what he deems to be an alarming fall from grace.

Alex Albon suffered a heavy crash during the opening practice session at Albert Park which meant that his Williams FW46 chassis could no longer be used in the race weekend. That led team principal James Vowles to make the controversial call of placing Albon in team-mate Logan Sargeant’s Williams for the remainder of the race weekend, as they did not bring a spare chassis.

Eddie Jordan slams ‘unacceptable’ Williams state

Former Williams driver David Coulthard and Jordan discussed the situation during the Formula For Success podcast, Coulthard saying he had never known such a scenario before in modern Formula 1, as he then asked Jordan whether he was ever in this kind of predicament while running his Jordan Grand Prix team?

“I want to ask you Eddie about something that happened during the weekend in Melbourne, which I’ve never seen before, from what I’d consider an established Formula 1 team, and that was the fact that we found out that Williams didn’t have a spare chassis,” Coulthard began.

“So when Alex Albon crashed [at] Turn Six in free practice, they did what I felt was the right thing in terms of giving the car to Alex because he’s been stronger than Logan.

“But how can that be in modern Formula 1? Other than the cost of production and delays, I understand they didn’t do it because they were lazy, they’ve done it because they just couldn’t physically get a spare chassis there, but did you ever go racing in that situation?”

Jordan confirmed that he did not, as he went on to reflect in horror at where he sees Williams now compared to their glory days of winning titles in the 1980s and ’90s.

That led him to plead for the return of co-founder Patrick Head to steady the ship, as he declared that Williams’ Australian Grand Prix situation was “impossible to accept”.

“I raced when you were allowed a spare car,” said Jordan. “So not alone had you got two cars for the two drivers, and yet there was another chassis sitting in the back of the truck, completely undressed. By that I mean a bare monocoque, freshly painted, but just sitting there with the minimum of things hanging off.

“Most teams would have a monocoque that would have already the steering arms in and would have the steering column in, they would have the suspension on the front on it and it would have various different aspects of the structure of the monocoque that would take less time to get to a race-worthy position on the track.

“I’m absolutely staggered – and I’d like to hear what Williams has to say – because I think it needs to be answered. It’s too critical.

“Look, how great has this team fallen? By that, I mean, we know about the Rothmans days, we know about you [Coulthard] and Damon Hill. We remember [Nigel] Mansell, we remember [Alain] Prost, we remember [Ayrton] Senna. We remember the great drivers that were there.

“For heaven’s sake man, what has happened to Williams? Patrick [Head] and [Sir] Frank [Williams], of course, sadly, is no longer with us, but Patrick is often in Sardinia, we need him back.

“We need somebody back. It just needs direction. It’s impossible to accept that a team like Williams can go to a race, which they went to in Australia, with only the chassis that they had for the drivers, it’s unacceptable.”

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Coulthard would respond by putting his faith in team principal Vowles to “turn that team around”, though he worries whether he can do that quickly and emphatically enough to keep Albon with the team.

The Thai driver has impressed since joining Williams in 2022, making himself a potential key player in what is already an eventful F1 2025 driver market.

“I think that James Vowles has definitely established himself well as team principal, is facing the hard questions rather than hiding from them,” said Coulthard, “so I have to believe that given time, he will be able to turn that team around.

“They’ve got some good technical team [people] that have joined. Pat Fry for instance, [who] I worked with at McLaren, is very experienced, he’s been at Ferrari, and Benetton back in the day, and I’ve no doubt that he will bring a steadying hand.

“I think it’s just lack of investment for several years. And the new owners [Dorilton Capital], of course, have been trying to restructure.

“I just hope they do enough to be able to keep a hold of someone like Alex Albon, who clearly has been the standout driver there.”

Albon narrowly missed out on the points in P11 in Melbourne, though the team is on course to have both cars in action next time out at the Japanese Grand Prix.

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