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Williams Want Their Ball Back

Having seen how close Red Bull are to making the breakthrough to the front with their RB3, it must be said that there is another team that could do the same, if they can overcome their reliability problems. That is Williams, of course.

Nico

Nico Rosberg in the FW29

In contrast to the Red Bull car, the FW29 has looked good from the moment it turned a wheel and, more often than not, it has made better use of the Toyota engine than the factory team where lap times are concerned. But the Toyotas are finishing the races whereas the Williams tend not to.

This is Williams we are talking about, however; a team with more history and experience in F1 than most. It is a safe bet that they will have improved reliability by the next GP. Much depends on how quickly they can wring more performance from the tires and the chassis therefore.

Everyone will be using the four-week gap to Barcelona as an opportunity to sort out the cars and make them quicker. Those who can wring that little bit extra from their machine will be the teams that move forward – and Williams ought to be amongst those, building on their knowledge and understanding of racing. In fact, all else being equal, one would expect them to emerge from the chasing group before Red Bull do so.

At that point, everything will hinge upon the driver pairing of Rosberg and Wurz. It’s a strange line-up in some ways, the promising youngster allied with the solid but unpredictable returning veteran, but it is looking good so far. Nico Rosberg is obviously quick and has the same level head that we admire so much in Lewis Hamilton; Alex has lost none of his ambition, as demonstrated in his drive from the back in Bahrain. Both have a lot to prove but are unlikely to make too many mistakes along the way.

So things look good for Williams at the moment and I cannot explain the nagging doubt that lingers in my mind. I want the team to return to competitiveness but something prevents me from predicting podiums for them this season. They will score points, yes, and I confidently expect them to finish the year ahead of Toyota; but to get to the level of Ferrari and McLaren or even BMW? I just can’t see it.

In writing these articles on each team thus far, I have been struck by how close a season it is. There are such tiny differences in the performance of so many teams that it is hard to see just who will move forward and who will fall behind. It will only take a suddenly-discovered tweak in one of the chasing teams for them to leap into contention – and that could easily happen.

For Button’s sake, I have to hope that it’s Honda that makes the jump; but far more likely is that it will be Williams.

2 Responses to “Williams Want Their Ball Back”

  1. Teamm Willy has always been my favourite of the lot, and I really want them to be up there, but I don’t think they’ll match McLaren and Ferrari, not this year, too bad.

    On another subject, have you noticed how cheerfully Denis celebrates Hamilton’s podiums and not so cheerfully Alonso’s? And I remember reading in F1Racing that the team will give Hamilton the better hand, even if they claim they wont. You know, Hamilton being with McLaren since he was 12 or something, being english and all, and Alonso really is in a new team, not so Hamilton. It will be very interesting seeing the world champion becoming more and more desperate, IF Hamilton continues to deliver.

    To some extent, I think Kimi is in a similiar situation…

  2. I must admit that I hadn’t noticed that, Haplo – I shall have to watch carefully in future. But you are certainly right that Hamilton has been a McLaren man for years, whereas Alonso is the newcomer. Even so, I think Ron Dennis will give them equal treatment for the sake of the constructor’s championship – and Hamilton is going to be part of that team for many years, whereas Alonso will go elsewhere if he thinks he is getting poorer treatment.

    Personally, I have complete faith in Alonso – he is a double world champion, earned both through superior ability and will have no trouble in remaining as the McLaren number one this year. It’s next year that I think we may see McLaren begin to favour Hamilton, after he has served his “apprenticeship”.

    As for Kimi, I think it’s becoming very obvious that Ferrari prefer Massa…

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