2014 proved to be a critical year for Williams F1. The British racing team that bears the name of its founder Frank Williams is a true blue blood of Formula 1, the world’s premiere motor racing series. Claiming 9 Constructors Championships and 7 Drivers Championships in their time in the sport, few can rival their history or regard around the world. In such a competitive sport however you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. After a decade of glorious success during the late 1980’s and early/mid 1990’s, including World Championships for Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damian Hill and Jaques Villeneuve the balance of power began to shift away from Williams. As they look to finally re-establish themselves among the elite teams at the front of the grid, could the 2014 season be the spring board they need to return to those glory glory days?
Granted incredibly intimate access to the corridors of power at Williams F1, the 2014 season review takes us on a deep and personal ride through the highs and lows of this passionate family team. Starting quite literally with a clean slate; a completely new car due to the introduction of Formula 1’s most radical rule changes in a generation, new sponsorship and a new livery, the team knew in pre-season testing they had something special. Early season results perhaps failed to reflect this but as the season wore on results improved and the team began to claim podiums and pole positions, as drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas diced with Ferrari at the business end of sport.
What becomes clear is not only how much progress is made during the course of 2014 but also how deeply personal it is to everyone. From Pat Symonds and Rob Smedley you get a real sense of just how dedicated the entire group are but perhaps the largest barometer of how much it all means to them is how a clearly emotional Claire Williams describes the sense of collective pride and achievement felt by the Williams F1 ‘family’. Does this signal the dawn of a new era for the team?
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