Long-term Williams decline 'slightly exaggerated or erroneous'
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams has said that it is 'erroneous' to suggest the Formula 1 team have been on a steady decline for a prolonged period, but is it?
When the V6 turbo hybrid power units were introduced in 2014, Williams made strides towards the front of the pack and, if not for an overly cautious strategy in the Austrian Grand Prix of that year, the team could have even secured a race win.
In 2019, the team registered just a single point.
"We’ve had two bad years," Williams told a media conference call. "Any team can have two bad years and it’s what you do as a result of those two bad years and learn from your mistakes and pull yourself up. That’s the work that we’ve been doing over the past year and into this year.
"Unfortunately because we couldn’t go racing this year, we couldn’t show people that we’ve made progress.
"Obviously prior to those two years we’d had some quite considerable success in ’14 and ’15, finishing third and third and then ’16 and ’17 finishing fifth and fifth.
"So I think to say that Williams has been in a long term spiral of decline is probably slightly exaggerated or erroneous."
The stats that paint a picture of decline
Obviously, only team members know exactly what goes on behind the closed factory doors. Any media granted access to facilities will only see what the team wants them to see. The warts and problems will all be hidden away from view.
So what do the statistics say?
Well, the picture that becomes clear instantly, is that, while Williams may have only been backmarkers for the past two years, the decline has indeed been a long term one.
In 2014, Williams amassed a team-record 320-points to finish third in the constructors' standings, scoring nine podium finishes along the way. The 2015 season again saw Williams finish third, but improvements from Red Bull and Ferrari saw a reduced points haul of 257 with just four podium results.
2016 was when the cracks at Williams began to show through. Valtteri Bottas scored the only podium finish for the team as Williams dropped behind Force India to fifth in the constructors' table having scored 138-points - a 47% decline in points from one year previous.
The past three years make for bleak reading. Lance Stroll scored an impressive maiden podium result in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but point returns of 83, seven and one saw the team drop from fifth, to last place in each of the past two years.
The cold hard numbers do not paint a pretty picture for Williams it has to be said.
Williams expect to be challenging in the midfield positions in 2020 but will likely place a large focus on the 2022 car to ensure a strong start once the new aerodynamic regulations come into force.
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.