2020 Preview: Williams Racing
With uncertainty around their future how do Williams look ahead of the 2020 season
An already difficult season, with the delay to the start of season and unplanned schedule, was made increasing complex for a Williams team struggling for performance both on and off track. After they terminated the contract of main title sponsor ROKiT, it was announced the team are look to sell either a minority or majority stake in the team in order to try and wipe out debt and move the team in a new strategic direction which will better place them to take advantage of the rule changes for 2021. With such confusion going on in the boardroom where do the team stand on track for 2020 and can they survive this year.
Position: 10th Points: 1 Wins: 0 Podiums: 0 Best Finish: 10th - Germany (Kubica)
The Car - FW43
Williams Racing 2020 FW43 ©Williams Racing
The dropping of ROKiT brings with it the removal of the color red from a Williams livery for the first time in several years and a return to the traditional white, black and blue. In essence, the car itself is simply a development of 2019's FW42. With no new design concepts or radical changes, each part is expected to be improvement on the version from the previous iteration. This attempt to bring an improved 2020 car to the track is a result of balancing resources to allow for the team to focus on what they already have over pumping time and money into an unknown development.
Given this approach, there are no significant elements on the FW43 to dissect. It clear that the drivers will need to make all the difference this year and only time will tell of this approach has worked.
The Drivers - George Russel and Nicolas Latifi
After Robert Kubica jumped ship at the end of the 2019, 24 year old Nicolas Latifi has been promoted to partner George Russel. Latifi has had a rather inconspicuous journey to F1 having achieved fairly average results in the series up to F2. A 5th place finish in 2017 and 9th in 2018 looked to continue that trend before a stand out season in 2019 saw a 2nd place finish with DAMS. This result mixed with his stint as test and reserve driver for Williams in 2019 saw him gain promotion within the team. While there isn't a great deal of expectation around him, Latifi will be looking to produce a strong showing to help drag the team up the from the bottom.
In George Russel there is a youthfulness to the lineup which can bring moments of brilliance and energy to lift a team that may be lacking a little hope. Russel was consistently out performing his Polish teammate last year, despite Kubica picking up Williams only point of the season, he managed to win their qualifying battle 21-0 with the only clean sweep on the grid. The youngster is hotly tipped for a Mercedes seat in the future and comes with real potential. The kind of potential that Williams will be hoping their car can unlock to allow them to move away from the last two spots.
Despite the fact they have a promising and young driver lineup, the decision to make no major concept changes to their car will mean that just improving on last years car will unlikely be enough to make any substantial difference to their position on the track. That being said, if they make what they have work they could at least be in a position to be racing other teams rather than themselves. They could haul themselves into contention but ultimately over the course of the season they should be beaten out by the rest of the pack.
Predicted Finish: 10th