It pains me to keep writing these articles on Williams over the last few weeks, but here’s yet another hammer blow and an increase of pace… backwards – The pathetic retreat from the historic team that is looking more and more like Tyrrell or Team Lotus (the original one) in the early nineties.
Williams has had a catalogue of disaster since they sold Valtteri Bottas to Mercedes in exchange for Paddy Lowe. And in the words of a commenter on TJ13 the other day that tickled me, the team are certainly at their “Lowe-est” point ever.
Autosport are reporting this evening that Lowe has taken a ‘leave of absence’ starting immediately, for ‘personal reasons’. As a stakeholder of Williams, obviously he cannot be dismissed but certainly this is the closest to that the team can get. Lowe has left the building.
A team spokesperson confirmed to Autosport that Lowe “is taking a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons”, but clearly we see that the car has failed to meet the required expectations after Lowe had been given the benefit of the doubt in 2018 having produced a dog. Indeed insiders are seemingly correct when they claimed that the FW42 would be ‘2 seconds slower than the 2018 car’ (read more on that here).
TJ13 understands that the FIA recently mandated several key aspects of the 2019 FW42 to be illegal (read more on that here), forcing the team to make significant changes to the car in a very short space of time before Melbourne in under two weeks time.
Further, the irony of Lowe stating that pinning the blame on one individual or making hasty personnel changes would be unwise, whilst already having said in the press that he’d leave the team voluntarily if the “worst should happen with the FW42”. Even more ironic is the fact that Lowe could’ve been one of the instrumental senior figures leading the cull of personnel exclusively reported by TJ13 the other week (read more on that here), that backfired and likely contributed to the delay of the car for Barcelona.
Lowe argued that the car was already showing signs of having much better characteristics than its predecessor.
But rookie driver George Russell said the team was definitely slowest, while championship returnee Robert Kubica complained that the saga had left him knowing only “20%” of what he needs for his big F1 comeback in Melbourne.
Maybe Claire Williams was actually serious when she spoke of Kubica being a technical director, a freudian slip perhaps.
Sad days my friends….
Claire Williams: “Kubica could be a technical director”