Claire Williams, deputy team principal of the Williams F1 team, is confident that there will be no repeat of their alarming slump in competitiveness in 2019.
The squad finished last season at the bottom of the constructors standings, with Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin picking up just seven points between them over the course of 21 races.
Williams has opted for a total driver refresh for the forthcoming new season, with Robert Kubica and George Russell taking over behind the wheel in Australia next month.
But Williams admits the problems at Grove go a lot deeper than a simple matter of driver selection, with last year’s FW41 suffering fundamental design issues right from the start.
Williams insists that won’t be the case again this year.
“We’re pretty happy that we have resolved some of the key issues that we had last year,” she told RACER magazine. “But our recovery is still very much a work in progress.
“We’ve obviously had the plan that we’ve put in place around car development that’s been ongoing for a while now,” she said. “That’s been going I think probably as we would expect.
“I think it’s a case of we clearly have got to wait and see until we get to testing to see what everyone else is doing,” Williams added. “It’s quite difficult to judge the progress we’re making at this point.”
Williams explained that the changes at the venerable independent race team extend across the whole company.
“There’s lots of other work that has been going on around the business as a whole<” he said. “Making sure that the business and its structure, processes and resources are all fit for purpose.
“We’re doing a huge amount of work making sure that everything is set up in the right way for us to do the job that we need to, in order to ensure that our recovery plan goes according to plan.”
Despite the team’s problems – and reports of a ‘brain drain’ of talent over the past few months – Williams remains upbeat about the future.
“The atmosphere is good actually, I have to say,” she said. “Everyone’s working really hard.”
While the team has lost its financial backing from Martini, SMP Racing and billionaire Canadian business man Lawrence Stroll, it has fresh funding from Polish oil company PKN Orlen.
Meanwhile the team’s former driver Sergey Sirotkin has announced that he will be driving for SMP at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race.
He’ll be driving alongside compatriot Egor Orudzhev and Frenchman Stephane Sarrazin n the #17 car and will also appear in WEC events at Sebring and Spa-Francorchamps.