Williams: We can beat the big spenders
Claire Williams insists the heritage of defying budget restrictions to compete with the best made famous by her father Sir Frank can be rediscovered by the Williams team this season.
Williams enters 2014 ready for what could be its most successful season since the early 2000s after a strong showing over the winter. The independent team won world titles in the 1980s and 1990s despite limited resources compared to its rivals, and deputy team principal Williams insists they can live up to their past again in 2014.
"I think smaller teams on smaller budgets have proved in recent years they can win races and they can get on the podium and be successful," Williams said. "I have no doubt that we can do what we want to do on the budget we have. Of course everybody wants more budget, you can pay for more engineers, you can buy more advanced kit, you can develop your simulator, whatever it is. I would love to prove we can fight against those guys regularly on a smaller budget and Frank's always done that at the past at Williams. He's won world championships against the likes of Ferrari and the bigger budgets that McLaren had in the past, so it is possible."
Williams switched from Renault to Mercedes for this season, a change which looks inspired given the contrasting fortunes of both engines in the winter. The team also brought in Pat Symonds as chief technical officer last season, and have added race-winner Felipe Massa to the driving line up, changes Williams believes have created a more positive environment.
"Everybody's desire to change [has been important]. That can take a mindset change as well and we were able to do that. Inherently, we at Williams just want to win races. We love going motor racing, we have a real passion for it and that never diminishes. I think we all got bored of losing. It's just 'come on guys, let's do this, it's not difficult. We've got the Mercedes engine as well. The fact we had such a successful test is in no small part thanks to the power unit they delivered to us."
Williams also admits changes at the team's base in Oxfordshire have been important.
"There have been a lot of changes under Pat but the way in which all the people work is different too. We've been guilty of creating silo's between all of the four key areas of building a racing team - aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, race operations and the design team. We've got a big campus and it's quite geographically spaced out but we have tried to knock down those silo's and change mindsets, getting everyone to say 'come on guys, let's go and win races'."