‘Williams become Tyrrell? Over my dead body’

Date published: May 1 2018

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams has engaged in some fighting talk by saying it will be over her "dead body" that Williams go the way of Tyrrell.

The likes of Tyrrell, Lotus and Brabham are once-great names no longer associated with Formula 1, with the former winning three Driver World Championships in 1969, 1971and 1973 before the name became defunct.

Tyrrell became known as British American Racing (BAR) and became part of Honda before it was sold to Ross Brawn in 2009. Mercedes bought the team a year later and have dominated the sport for the last four years, with the Tyrrell name staying in the distant past.

But Williams has fiercely denied that her team will go the same way after becoming a fallen giant of Formula 1.

“If people think we don’t have a plan and we are going the way of Tyrrell, they will be sorely mistaken," Williams told the Formula 1 website. "That will be over my dead body.”

“There is a lot of fight in me and the rest of the team. We have a plan and clear ambitions. You may have a bad year, but it’s what you do in response that counts.”

Williams did concede that the team should be operating at a higher level than what they are now, but reassured fans that they are taking responsibility for their faults and doing everything they can to become a force again.

She added: “Obviously, it’s not been the start that we’d hoped for, and maybe we’d come into it with a bit of blind positivity, almost, believing we could turn things around in a greater way than we actually had.

“We also made a lot of changes and brought new people into the team last year and maybe our expectations of what they could deliver in the timescale was exaggerated.

"And equally we should have done better and we all put our hands up to that, because everyone is accountable for that at Williams, and for where we are.”

“But I do believe that sometimes you almost need to hit rock bottom to make you address the areas that you may have papered over previously, and probably that’s what’s happened at Williams in the past few years.

"We have identified the issues and where we can deliver performance.”

“Paddy and his team have done a fantastic job in identifying the areas to build into that project and to roll it out to the rest of the team so everybody knows what that mission is and what the expectations and targets are.”

“That’s really important, and fundamental honesty even more so. I think this has been a wake-up call, because we are all guilty of resting on our laurels sometimes.”

“Williams are a big team now with nearly 700 people, a huge campus, there’s a lot of resource and equipment in there, and turning it round isn’t the work of a moment, unfortunately.”

“And anyone who thinks: Oh, you’ve had a bad year but you’ll be back up fighting at the top again is naive.

"You have to adjust your expectations, which we have, and that’s kind of a bitter pill to swallow because we want to be in Formula 1 to win races.”