2012s one-hit wonders? Williams mid-season report 23 Aug 2012
After the disappointment of 2011 when they scored just five points, Williams have bounced back with a vengeance this season. After winning their first Grand Prix since 2004 the British team look set for a better and brighter future, but it hasnt been entirely smooth sailing. A management structure in flux and an inexperienced driver line-up has meant they havent always made the most of a competitive car. Last year they were let down by the FW33s weaknesses. This year they arent quite maximizing the FW34s strengths. That must be their target over the coming months
Season in numbers
Constructors standings: 7th, 53 points
Drivers standings: Pastor Maldonado (11th, 29 points), Bruno Senna (15th, 24 points)
Highest 2012 qualifying: 1st (Maldonado, Spain)
Highest 2012 finish: 1st (Maldonado, Spain)
Following a solid winter of work which saw the team complete more mileage than any other, and with a Renault engine once again strapped to its back, the FW34 is one of Williams best cars in years. The product of a new technical leadership, guided by incoming technical director Mike Coughlan, the car has punched well above its weight. Competitive and relatively consistent, the team continue to push its development.
Change has been in the air for much of 2012 at Williams. Even before the season got underway engineering stalwart Patrick Head retired and his young sidekick Sam Michael left for McLaren. Mark Gillan and Coughlan, meanwhile, took over the technical reins. There were plans for Sir Frank Williams to pass the running of the company to chairman Adam Parr, but Parrs surprise exit not long into the season saw Williams step back into the role, aided by shareholder and executive director Toto Wolff. Despite the lack of continuity, Williams bounced back admirably from the garage fire which marred their celebrations after Maldonados Spanish victory.
After swapping the hard-bitten experience of Rubens Barrichello for the relatively untested talent of younger countryman Senna to complement Maldonado in his second year, Williams found themselves with one of the greenest driver line-ups on the grid. Although it helped fill the teams coffers, it was a gamble and one that hasnt entirely paid off. Despite a strong showing in Hungary, question marks over Sennas ability to get the best from the FW34 persist, especially in qualifying, where he has fallen far short of Maldonados performances. As a result Williams have got both cars into the top-ten shootout just once this season. Then again Maldonado hasnt exactly excelled. Aside from his elegant and flawless drive to victory in Spain, the Venezuelan has troubled the stewards room more than the podium, with his collisions with Sergio Perez at Silverstone and Lewis Hamilton in Valencia coming in for criticism. More tellingly, he hasnt scored a single point since his burst of brilliance in Barcelona.
What they say: We expect to be strong in all of the forthcoming races and look forward to the tightly packed remaining nine races. Mark Gillan, chief operations engineer
What we say: Williams needed the FW34 to be good. And it is. Now the drivers must consistently take advantage and produce some more tangible results.
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