Jost Capito denies Williams are back to pre-Dorilton Capital days

Michelle Foster
George Russell celebrates his first ever F1 podium, holding his trophy aloft. Belgium August 2021

Williams driver George Russell celebrates his first ever F1 podium, holding his trophy aloft. Belgium August 2021

Team boss Jost Capito has denied Williams are falling backwards to their pre-Dorilton Capital days, adamant the midfield is “much closer” than it was even with last season’s bumper points haul.

Plummeting to P10 in 2018, Williams stayed bottom of the log for three years running, failing to even score a single point in 2020.

That season the team was sold, the Williams family bidding farewell to the Formula 1 paddock and Dorilton Capital stepping in as the new team owners.

After one full season in charge the team was eighth in the Constructors’ Championship with 23 points on the board, and then even had a podium finish with George Russell scoring half points at a washed-out Belgian Grand Prix.

But now again back down in 10th place, there are concerns Williams are falling back to their pre-Dorilton days.

Team boss Capito has denied this, saying this year’s three points are on a par with what Williams would have scored last season had it not been for Russell’s fortuitous P2 in the rain at Spa.

“I think we are still better than they were at that time,” he said to GPFans.

“We are still better when you see the gaps are much closer than they were in recent years.

“Last year we were, we have to say, lucky with the points. The major points we got at Spa, we were lucky.

“That was not on the pure speed of the car.”

In fact, Capito reckons Williams have closed the gap on those ahead.

“Where we see from the speed,” he explained, “we [have] now closed the gap to quite a lot of teams.

“This is where we measure ourselves against, not in championship position because there you can have the lucky shot like last year.

“Then we generally check where we are on speed to the others and how we develop that race by race.”

Has porpoising cost Williams downforce?

Williams have endured a difficult start to 2022, so much so the team changed the entire concept of the FW44 ahead of the British Grand Prix.

In a season in which the team, and every other backmarker, had hoped the new regulations would play to their favour, Williams have instead been left scratching around for points.

Alex Albon has managed three, one in Australia and two in Miami. Nothing, though, has come in the last eight races.

The FW44 has fallen short mainly in high-speed corners, the car not creating the downforce its rivals have managed to find. Whether that is because Williams have had to raise the ride height to curb their porpoising, only the team knows.

Williams said in April they were “pretty close” to eradicating the problem, but given the simple solution for that is to raise the ride height they may have done so at the expense of downforce.

While the Grove team could yet regain some of that lost downforce this season, a journey Mercedes are also on, it may be a case that they have to wait until next year’s FIA intervention of raising the floor edges by 15mm to increase the downforce and the car’s pace.

Until then, scrapping for points may be all Williams can do this season.