Williams CEO Jost Capito acknowledges the team are coming from “way behind” in the pecking order, which will naturally impact their 2022 car.
Having slipped towards the back of the field in recent years, Williams have managed to bridge some of the gap between themselves and the midfield with their FW43B – but there is still a long way to go to get themselves back to the front.
Pastor Maldonado was the last Williams driver to win a race, in 2012 at the Spanish Grand Prix, and Capito says the team cannot expect the new regulations to be a magic formula that will enable them to compete at the front of the grid again.
F1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn accepts the field will probably spread out again next season, but Capito is pragmatic about how he and the team will go about their goals for next season and beyond.
“You can set concrete goals for where you want to go with the car,” Capito told Auto Motor und Sport. “We will see whether it is competitive then, but you can’t set a place for yourself. That would be absolutely wrong.
“We can’t expect miracles. We are coming from way behind. The team owners know it is a long and rocky road to the front. To pin that on a position we might not reach and then the team completely crashes because simply the targets are not met would be wrong.
“We have to set targets for the new car. And when we meet them, we see where we stand. From there, we can define how to go forward.”
Capito also confirmed that, while the focus for the team is on their 2022 car, the rest of their allocated time in the wind tunnel will be concentrated on their current racer.
While that may seem counter-productive with new regulations coming imminently, the Williams boss offered his reasoning behind the decision.
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— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) May 17, 2021
“The weaknesses in the car are known and we have to live with them, but the team also has to get into a rhythm of making improvements,” he explained.
“I can’t tell the race team ‘you take what you get at the weekend, the settings and that’s it’, they also have to get used to the way of working.
“It’s demotivating to say you don’t get anything anymore, you can’t contribute any ideas. That would be wrong. You also have to keep the racing team alive and not shut it down.”
Capito also rubbished any rumours that the team would become customers of another constructor on the grid. Having bought power units and gearboxes from Mercedes, the Williams CEO says the team are still very much on their own path in the sport.
“We are still independent,” he said. “When you buy parts, you don’t make yourself dependent on anyone. Engine and gearbox are one unit. If you can get it, you have to take it. It’s developed together, it’s so inter-connected now.
“We don’t talk about the others. We as Williams want to remain independent. If you have the goal of competing for the World Championship again at some point, there is no other way. You can’t be a second-choice team.
“[To do that] we just have to be better. There is no resentment. It also happens that engineers move from one team to another. We simply have to build a team with which we can be successful.”