Claire Williams ‘embarrassed’ by car delay, coy on cause
Williams’ Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams labelled the squad’s predicament as “embarrassing”, but refused to divulge details regarding its situation.
Williams, which finished at the foot of the 2018 Constructors’ Championship, was not able to ready its FW42 in time for the start of this week’s opening pre-season test.
Williams missed the entirety of Monday and Tuesday’s action before the car finally arrived at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya early on Wednesday morning.
Rookie George Russell brought the FW42 out for an installation lap during the initial phases of Wednesday afternoon’s running, leaving the team behind its rivals in terms of preparations.
“This is not a situation that we anticipated,” said Williams. “It’s certainly not a situation that we ever wanted to find ourselves in.
“We’re not just disappointed. It’s embarrassing not bringing a race car to a circuit when everyone else has managed to do that, particularly a team like ours that has managed to bring a race car to testing for the past 40-odd years.
“So we can only apologise. I would apologise to our fans, I would apologise to all the people that have had the pressure really dialled up on them at Grove over the past few days to get everything ready, just to get us to this point today, and mostly to George and Robert [Kubica], who were looking forward to a car on Monday so that they could prepare and have the most amount of time possible to prepare ahead of the season.”
Williams repeatedly refused to reveal details regarding the cause of the delay, stressing that it was not the team’s policy to “air dirty laundry in public” until an investigation has been concluded.
“It became apparent quite late on actually that we weren’t going to firstly make the shakedown and then subsequent to that, not make the first day,” she explained.
“We thought we could get everything that we needed to together in order to make Tuesday, and then parts just weren’t coming through as we hoped they would, and in the time that we hoped that they would and had in the plan.
“And so it transpires that we didn’t make it until today.
“But I am not going to go into any detail as to why that happened. I don’t think that it’s appropriate to discuss the ins and outs of what went wrong. Completing that inquest anyway has not happened at Grove yet.
“We’re clearly aware of some of the issues, but it’s too early in the day to start discussing them in any detail and probably something that we wouldn’t do anyway.
“We need to resolve what went wrong or analyse what went wrong, and then to resolve it so that this doesn’t happen again at Williams.”
Williams has also cancelled a planned media call with technical chief Paddy Lowe – also a shareholder in the operation – and on Lowe’s situation, she said: “He is focusing his energies on making sure car is in the best possible shape.
“I've read a lot of speculation about his position. Right now all I am focused on and the team should be focused on is making sure the car is in the right place.”