Williams a mere puppet of Mercedes? No not according to Claire
Williams team boss Claire Williams defends itself against accusations that Mercedes have too much influence in Formula 1 and can utilize the voice of the team as was stated by Mr E to the Daily Mail.
“You can look at each voting and see that we are not controlled by Mercedes,” says team boss Claire Williams.
“We are Williams and are in this sport for almost four decades. We are for the vote, what we think is right and what is good for the sport, and not because we are asked by our engine supplier. We are a customer team and pay for our engines. It’s not like we can get it for free and then have to vote for what they want.”
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I’m no hero says Vettel
Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel insists he has no desire to behave like a “hero”. While the reigning title winner Lewis Hamilton is commonly called a F1 “superstar”, Ferrari’s Vettel refuses even to sign up for Twitter or Instagram.
“I am a normal person like everyone else on the road,” he told the Die Welt newspaper supplement called ‘PS Welt’.
“I am no better, just because I can drive faster than other people. I’m not saving anyone’s life, I’m not a hero,” Vettel insisted. A fiercely-private young father of – reportedly – now two children, 28-year-old Vettel says he cannot relate to the ‘selfie’ generation.
“This generation that constantly takes photos of itself is beyond me,” he said.
Vettel also admits to not totally relating to the modern iteration of the sport he excels in. “The new (F1) rules are, I would say, very futuristic,” he said.
“The cars have become more efficient in terms of consumption, but whether this thrills the audience or even the drivers, I am not sure,” added Vettel.
He also said the rules have become too “opaque”, further alienating the sport from its base, while he says the recent wrangling over qualifying was simply “embarrassing”.
“We must be careful not to lose the spirit of F1,” Vettel insisted.
“Since I have been here we have done a great deal to improve the sport — some (changes) have succeeded, many have not. Some things now are too artificial and the audience finds it hard to identify with that,” he added.
I am mentally tougher than ever, asserts Hamilton
“People keep asking me if I’m worried — if there’s a downward trend emerging.But I’m feeling the complete opposite.
There are no real flaws in our procedure and how we’re working, so I know it’s going to come good,” Hamilton was quoted as saying by Sky Sports on Sunday.
“On a personal level too, I’m in the best place I’ve ever been psychologically. There’s very little, if anything at all, that can penetrate that,” he said.
2017 rules will make ‘very dull’ races
Daniel Ricciardo fears next year’s regulation changes could make F1 “very dull” due to increased levels of downforce. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said the amount of downforce included in the regulations changes is “a mistake” and Red Bull driver Ricciardo agrees this is not a step in the right direction.
“For the tempo, for the whole pace of the race needs to be quicker, a bit more intense,” Ricciardo said. “And to have high speed corners, to be able to push the cars through the high speed more. I don’t want to bolt on a whole lot of downforce and then be unable to follow another car. Qualifying would be fun but it would make the Sundays very dull.
“In an ideal world, whether it is through the tyres, having more grip from the tyre itself, to be able to go through the high speed and be more on to the driver. When I tested in Jerez the first time in 2009, all the high speed corners were up to me. The car was going to stick; it was how much I was willing to push it. Now I feel that there are a lot of corners on the calendar where you get to your limit.”
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“This generation that constantly takes photos of itself is beyond me.” – Seb Vettel.
Ouch… 😀 #44 #Narcissus
With respect to Lewis’ state of mind, it certainly does seem as if he is in the best place that he’s ever been. I sincerely hope that Lewis remains “impenetrable” and doesn’t feel the need for reevaluation and/or improvement. The current state of affairs from post-Austin ’15 to now is positively acceptable to both Lewis and I. 😉
I didn’t catch that dig until it was pointed out….and I do have to say,the kid ain’t wrong.😂
Sen mentions “…the spirit of F1…”
I’d suggest that THE problem with F1 right now is that there is no broad consensus about what constitutes “… the spirit of F1…”
All this chopping and changing and flip-flopping around on rules / regulations / procedures etc is because there’s no well-defined F1 goal / target / theme / brand.
“The pinnacle of motorsport” is an OK tag line but it only engenders a feeling, of sorts. It means nothing concrete. It provides no guidance for decision making. Amateur hour.
The F1 brand owners (CVC?) need to invest in some fundamental high-end 21st marketing and business planning. If they’re paying for something now then the need to change consultants.
+1 Fully agreed with that
If and when they do decide to invest in such a campaign, let’s hope they don’t to use Seb, especially if it means he has to take “selfie’s”.
He might find operating the front facing camera on his smartphone a tad too difficult and beyond him.
For the good of the sports the brand owners and their CEO must go.
“2017 rules will make very dull races” +1 agree, F1 needs less down force and not more of it.
Or for the F1 brand owners just to invest in their business rather than just asset strip it
Hey Seb my boy, even “normal people” have Twitter/Facebook/Instagram and other various social media accounts. It’s a way of interacting with the public.
No one is saying you are or should be better than anyone just because you can do a job very few on this planet can. Stop being such a boring and miserable git, live a little for heavensake!
He doesn’t have to broadcast is every movements over such mediums no one is asking him to. But he has a massive fan base, he could use such a platform to interact with them more, other than when he turns up at the track on a Thursday to Sunday or for sponsors events.
If anything he sounds a lot like Bernie when he stated that F1 doesn’t need social media. You’re a great champion and probably the funniest German I’ve ever seen (hmmm debatably, the hippo was funny too), live a little man.
He likes vintage motorcycles, I bet he has a lot of fans who share such a passion and would probably like to see one or two of his collections.
Live a little man……
I miss the Hippo…
…shall we all join in for a chorus of ‘Mud, mud, glorious mud’ to see if we can incant him into leaving the hollow…?
(if you’re out there, Hips, hope you’re enjoying your extended wallowing leave)
“There are still far too many people who think that they have to adapt to be accepted.”
But yet he criticises those who choose to embrace such mediums… Right?
Funny. How you attack someone. While you hate it if someone attacks Lewis the way you just did. Oh the irony. ..
I did not attack anyone.
I’m merely saying that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to interact more with his fans, so they can get to see another side of him other than what’s seen on race weekends.
But you’d think its an attack, even though i clearly stated he’s a great champion. If you’re referring to the ‘miserable git’ line, tongue in cheek mate… Not meant literally.
In a way, he is showing you the other side of him. The other side of him is him being a private person who does not wish to be hampered by crowds or become a super star. I see no problem, and I honestly doubt that many of his fans see a problem with that, considering that is an aspect of him that many people are fans of…
Williams not Mercedes puppets… well not in Bahrain, but I look back at some races in the past two years and Williams were an embarrassing. It reminded me of the way Torro Rosso used to move over for Red Bull, only a little more obvious in the case of Williams!
Williams has been something of a Merc-B team in 2013 and 2014, as long as the Wolff had ownership shares in Williams and Susie was an official driver for the team. Ever since Susie got a cold shoulder in Australia 2015 (when Bottas injured his back), was released from the team a couple of months ago, and the Wolff finally divested entirely from Williams last month or so, it looks that Williams started getting the same version of PU software that FI, McLaren and Lotus were getting before them… While I was expecting Australia to be a fluke, in Bahrain Williams kept sliding down even from very high track positions at the start. This bodes badly for their slippery chassis powered by the Merc PU. Chances are Williams are bracing for a scrap for 4th-5th place this year, behind Red Bull this time around and in the clutches of the midfield…
Yes there has been a real change in the last few races I’ve seen. In 2014/5 Bottas wouldn’t have tried that move on Lewis, he’d have not even considered it and just fallen in line behind him. Maybe Williams can get back to racing now.
williams with honda next year? i’m positively salivating at the prospect…
We can all dream. I would love to see another Honda team on the field next year.
I don’t believe that’s true at all. Williams performance since 2014 has been flattered by the relatively poor performance of other teams powered by different engines.
They’ve pursued conservative race strategies to maximize WCC points. I wish they’d taken advantage and gone for some wins, as the improvement by other teams now means they’ll inevitably drop down the grid, back to fighting in the midfield I fear.
They’ll not have the funds for the kind of in season development that most other top teams usually bring. Right now Daniel Ricciardo is making Red Bull look like they’re not as crippled with the Renault PU as they’ve had everyone believe. However Kyvat really needs to start performing, otherwise I expect he’ll get the chop from the merciless Dr Marko for next season – and with so many good youngsters waiting to come through, I imagine he’ll end up like other Red Bull victims who were decent drivers like J-EV, but not quite good enough to get the paid drives they need.
I’ll be interested to see if Massa gets another year with Williams, or whether they can manage without his sponsorship now two successive P3 finishes mean extra Bernie money, allowing them to bring in a talented youngster.
At least their Martini sponsorship seems assured, so they’ll still have the best livery on the grid, while they slide down it. I suspect McLaren might surprise us and improve gradually to allow them to fight through the midfield teams by the end of the year.
As far as the software issue – they’ve always had the customer version, and suggesting any kind of daft conspiracy is simply nonsense. Unless they’ve improved the car for slower circuits and wet weather, they’ll be fighting with FI and Haas and probably Torro Rosso too, for 4th or 5th place on the table at best. It’s a shame, the team really deserve some better luck – but ultimately they don’t have the resources to match better funded teams and keep the impressive 3rd place.
Some will of course strongly suggest that the mere notion of customer version PU software is simply some daft conspiracy nonsense, but obviously you don’t subscribe to that. As for Merc and Williams, the conflict of interest for Toto Wolff was obvious and glaring (co-owner of both teams, executive position in one team and a family member in a key role in the other team), and in this light Merc’s dominance, the overall performance of the other team and certain incidents (e.g. race strategies, on-track driver behaviour, etc.) at the very least raise some fair questions…
I never denied customer power unit software variations – I merely pointed out all Mercedes customers have such.
It would be unrealistic to expect the team that is able to design both car and power unit as one holistic package, to offer the same degree of integrated performance to engine customers – who according to the rules must design their own chassis, and who by the very definition of engine customers are responsible for engineering the car themselves to make best use of the power units supplied by Mercedes.
If not, Mercedes would need three additional teams of designers all working on each customer car with the in-house design teams, to achieve something close to the integration capabilities of the factory team. That would be an absurd notion, and even if not – were Mercedes to offer such a service, it would dramatically increase the total power unit leasing cost. I’ve not heard any of the current Mercedes customer teams asking whether they can pay more for their engine supply; I believe it’s was well reported in the F1 press that such teams were keen to lower the cost of the current generation of power units!
To suggest that Toto Wolff’s business affairs and marriage have previously given special treatment to Williams sounds like sensationalist nonsense. What sources do you have for such a claim? I suspect one reason we’ve never read such outlandish claims is that they would open up anyone publishing such allegations to court actions for libel.
The known association between Wolff and Williams surely will have forced both parties to ensure absolute transparency over their business affairs. Furthermore when you consider that Wolff had a very small shareholding in a team with a relatively minute market capitalization value, in comparison with the size of Mercedes racing operations and Daimler group in general – it shows how unlikely and unrewarding any potential underhand business dealings would be.
However if you can direct me to the evidence for your claims, I’ll enjoy reading anything that can refute the common sense I’ve outlined above. I’d actually be very interested in actual evidence that suggests I might in any way be wrong!
Of course it is nonsense to quickly handwave the clear conflict of interest that Wolff had while being co-owner of two F1 teams and executive in one of them. It is common sense that at the very least, his interest in Williams was financial: the team needed to do well so as when reselling his shares in the team he could extract the highest price. His second obvious reason was for the team in which he was executive, Merc, to do better.
There is a good reason why Daimler’s board had insisted since 2013, when Wolff was first appointed executive at Merc, that he divest completely from Williams (in which he had shares since 2009, and at which he held executive position prior to his Merc appointment):
“Wolff said: “It was always the plan to reduce the shareholding in Williams towards a level that is clearly a financial investment.
“This was important to Daimler for conflict of interest reasons and for compliance reasons.”
And 15% which he still held in 2014 is nothing short of significant — although probably not the case here, generally big corporations can be controlled with 20-25% of the shares… So for an F1 team executive and co-owner moving to another F1 team executive and co-ownership position, while retaining previous interests, can only raise a number of red flags. Of course what this might have entailed is partly speculation and conjecture, but definitely not outlandish, and the very reason why he was forced to divest in the first place…
The snap above of Claire Williams makes her look quite hot – even if it does look a bit as though it should have a speech-bubble saying “Duh?”