Formula 1 mid-season review: Williams

Formula 1 mid-season review: Williams

7 August 2014 – As the Formula 1 fraternity enjoys the summer break, GPUpdate.net takes the opportunity to analyse team and driver performances over the first 11 rounds of the 2014 season. In the latest instalment, we cover a Williams revival aided by the flourishing partnership between drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.

Williams: 8.5/10

Williams endured a horrible 2013, with the Grove-based team accruing just five points all season. 2014, consequently, could not have been a greater contrast. One crucial decision made pre-season was the choice to abandon Renault in favour of Mercedes, and allied to a strong chassis – particularly the front end – it has propelled Williams up the grid. Pre-season promise was initially not lived up to due to strategic errors and high rear tyre wear (hampered by the strong front end), exacerbated by wet conditions in a couple of qualifying sessions. Conservatism – it's important to remember Williams has not been a consistent front-runner in a decade – meant that stronger results slipped through their fingers as rivals adopted more aggressive race strategies. Nonetheless, the acquisition of Pat Symonds mid-2013 was inspired and his work, both in terms of the car and Williams' off-track structure, is clear, while Rob Smedley has brought years of experience. After an underwhelming start, matters improved, with the team locking out the front row in Austria before three straight podium finishes for Valtteri Bottas. The renaissance of Williams has been one of the feel good stories of the season and its current foundation is such that it shouldn't be a one-off. What it now needs to do is avoid more strong results slipping through its fingers as third place should be achievable – perhaps even second. If it can beat Ferrari, in a season where the emphasis is on chassis-power unit correlation – something Ferrari can build in-house – then it would be mightily impressive.

Valtteri Bottas: 9/10

Bottas joined the sport in 2013 on the back of high acclaim but his debut season was marred by an uncompetitive car, in which he was able to achieve just one top 10 finish. Nonetheless, he went about his business in an assured fashion and soaked up information. Now, with a competitive car, Bottas is thriving and proving that Williams' faith in his ability is justified. The season started somewhat slowly, with his starring drive in Australia (albeit after an error which led to a puncture) followed by several races in which Bottas was solid but unspectacular – a nonetheless positive trait for a driver at a midfield team as he consistently collected the points. A minor error prevented him from claiming pole position in Austria but he was the only driver to seriously challenge Mercedes in the race and he collected his maiden podium. Stunning runs to second in Britain and Germany highlighted his rapid upwards trajectory and marked him out as a star of the future generation. With Williams conventionally strong on the straights in 2014, he could be a contender for victory at Spa and Monza.

Felipe Massa: 8/10

Massa hasn't had a poor season, it's just not been particularly strong, especially compared with the thriving Bottas. Massa is the only driver to have broken Mercedes' string of poles in 2014 but so far his races have been inconsistent and several marred by large accidents – even if some were not his fault. But clashes in Canada and Germany can partly be attributed to him: at Montreal it was his indecisiveness in passing rivals which potentially cost him victory, while at Hockenheim he and Williams had the pace for a podium – his shifting of blame to others is also not an endearing trait. Conversely, Massa has been beset by some terrible luck this year. He was struck by a brake-less Kamui Kobayashi in Australia, lost a minute at a botched pit-stop in China and his three-stop strategy in Spain was scuppered by traffic. Marcus Ericsson's laughable attempt at making Mirabeau in Q1 pinned Massa to the wall and wrecked his Monaco weekend, while Williams' inability to read the weather at Silverstone left him at the back, from where a power unit problem dropped him way behind the field. He then encountered Kimi Räikkönen's wrecked Ferrari dancing across the circuit. Massa ultimately requires a clean weekend in which to collect a strong result – if he can get on the podium it'd be a popular result. If he can win another race – eminently possible considering Williams' package – then the tears might never stop flowing. But he's got to beat Bottas first…

Do you agree with GPUpdate.net's ratings? Join in the discussion via the Facebook panel below

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 25 September 2017

  2. 17:02

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  3. Video: McLaren speakers in race liveries 16:40

    Video: McLaren speakers in race liveries

    McLaren paired up with Logitech's Ultimate Ears to create a set of ultra-exclusive speakers, inspired by the team's liveries…

    F1
  4. Williams confirms it is evaluating Kubica 15:13

    Williams confirms it is evaluating Kubica

    Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica is one of the drivers it is evaluating for a race seat in 2018, as the Pole continues…

    F1
  5. Honda clears Alonso's Singapore PU for use 13:26

    Honda clears Alonso's Singapore PU for use

    Fernando Alonso will be able to re-use the power unit that was fitted to his car for the Singapore Grand Prix, where he got…

    F1
  6. Dovizioso laments 'complicated' weekend 12:27

    Dovizioso laments 'complicated' weekend

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso was left to rue a "complicated" Aragón Grand Prix weekend as he fell 16 points behind Honda rival…

    MotoGP
  7. Mercedes has focused on 'painful' moments 11:39

    Mercedes has focused on 'painful' moments

    Toto Wolff says Mercedes has focused on the "painful" moments of the Singapore Grand Prix in a bid to boost its prospects over…

    F1
  8. Video: Biggest crashes of WRC season 10:45

    Video: Biggest crashes of WRC season

    Watch a compilation of crashes from the 2017 World Rally Championship season so far, including spectacular slides, rolls and…

    WRC
  9. Lorenzo: First Ducati win will come soon 10:38

    Lorenzo: First Ducati win will come soon

    Jorge Lorenzo believes his first win in Ducati colours will come "soon" after he led the bulk of the Aragón Grand Prix, before…

    MotoGP
  10. Aston Martin to become Red Bull title partner 09:41

    Aston Martin to become Red Bull title partner

    British luxury sportscar manufacturer Aston Martin will become the title and innovation partner of Red Bull from the 2018…

    F1
  11. Rossi 'proud' of performance at Aragón 09:29

    Rossi 'proud' of performance at Aragón

    Valentino Rossi says he was "quite proud" of his performance at the Aragón Grand Prix, having competed at the sharp end just…

    MotoGP
  12. Norris admits he 'just wanted it too much' 09:08

    Norris admits he 'just wanted it too much'

    Lando Norris has admitted that he "just wanted it too much" as a last-lap collision prevented him from securing the European…

    F3
  13. Video: Super Formula Sugo race highlights 08:20

    Video: Super Formula Sugo race highlights

    Watch highlights of the penultimate round of the 2017 Super Formula season at Sportsland Sugo.

    SF
  14. Gasly 'didn't expect' Super Formula title tilt 08:04

    Gasly 'didn't expect' Super Formula title tilt

    Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly says he did not expect to be in contention for the Super Formula title as a rookie, after scoring…

    SF
  15. Video: Carlos Sainz versus Carlos Sainz 05:20

    Video: Carlos Sainz versus Carlos Sainz

    Red Bull sets up a race between Carlos Sainz and Carlos Sainz - with Senior and Junior facing off in buggies.

    F1
  16. 04:14

    MotoGP standings after Aragón Grand Prix

    MotoGP
  17. Sunday 24 September 2017

  18. Eriksson wins, Norris misses title chance 16:46

    Eriksson wins, Norris misses title chance

    Joel Eriksson survived contact with Lando Norris to secure victory in the final race of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring, while…

    F3
  19. 15:22

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  20. Márquez was 'fighting against bike' in race 15:21

    Márquez was 'fighting against bike' in race

    Marc Márquez says he was "fighting against the bike" over the course of the Aragón Grand Prix after recording his fifth…

    MotoGP
  21. 14:23

    In full: Aragón Grand Prix race results

    MotoGP
  22. Márquez fights back for Aragón victory 13:46

    Márquez fights back for Aragón victory

    Marc Márquez extended his championship lead with his fifth victory of the season at the Aragón Grand Prix as he headed…

    MotoGP
  23. 12:00

    Starting grid for the Aragón Grand Prix

    MotoGP
  24. Ducati: Rear tyre choice crucial for race 11:02

    Ducati: Rear tyre choice crucial for race

    Ducati pair Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso believe rear tyre choice will be critical to the manufacturer's prospects of…

    MotoGP
  25. Eriksson wins, Norris edges towards title 10:46

    Eriksson wins, Norris edges towards title

    Motopark's Joel Eriksson ended his victory drought at the Red Bull Ring while McLaren-backed youngster Lando Norris edged closer…

    F3
  26. Flashback: Malaysia's dramatic 2016 race 10:06

    Flashback: Malaysia's dramatic 2016 race

    Last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix was a potentially season-defining race, with Lewis Hamilton winning after Sebastian Vettel's…

    F1
  27. Formula 1 tweaks jump start regulations 09:14

    Formula 1 tweaks jump start regulations

    The FIA has tightened next year's Sporting Regulations regarding jump starts in Formula 1, raising the possibility of penalties…

    F1
  28. Gasly closes on Ishiura with Sugo podium 08:38

    Gasly closes on Ishiura with Sugo podium

    Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly closed the gap to Super Formula title leader Hiroaki Ishiura to just half a point, after…

    SF
  29. Video: Toto Wolff tackles the Nürburgring 05:42

    Video: Toto Wolff tackles the Nürburgring

    Watch as Mercedes boss Toto Wolff tackles the Nürburgring in a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II during the Touring Cars…

    F1
  30. Saturday 23 September 2017

  31. 17:04

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  32. Márquez 'pushed too much' in pole pursuit 17:02

    Márquez 'pushed too much' in pole pursuit

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez accepted that he "pushed too much" during the closing stages of qualifying for the Aragón…

    MotoGP
  33. Rossi labels front row spot 'big surprise' 14:46

    Rossi labels front row spot 'big surprise'

    Valentino Rossi labelled his front-row grid spot for the Aragón Grand Prix as a "big surprise" after making an…

    MotoGP
  34. 14:07

    Aragón Grand Prix: Qualifying 2 results

    MotoGP
  35. Viñales takes Aragón pole, Rossi third 14:04

    Viñales takes Aragón pole, Rossi third

    Movistar Yamaha's Maverick Viñales made it back-to-back pole positions during a thrilling qualifying session for the Aragón…

    MotoGP
  36. MotoGP confirms 2018 pre-season schedule 12:46

    MotoGP confirms 2018 pre-season schedule

    MotoGP organisers have confirmed the championship's pre-season test dates and venues for the 2018 campaign. As per usual, the…

    MotoGP
  37. F1 relaxes rules over current cars for demos 11:12

    F1 relaxes rules over current cars for demos

    Formula 1's Sporting Regulations have been relaxed in order to allow current-spec cars to be run at any demonstration events…

    F1
  38. 10:38

    Latest F3 photos: Saturday at Spielberg

    F3
  39. Ilott converts pole into victory in Austria 10:36

    Ilott converts pole into victory in Austria

    Prema's Callum Ilott took his fifth victory of the European Formula 3 season with a lights-to-flag drive in the opening race of…

    F3
  40. 10:00

    Aragón Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    MotoGP
  41. Márquez heads FP3 as Rossi makes Q2 09:59

    Márquez heads FP3 as Rossi makes Q2

    Reigning World Champion Marc Márquez led the way as all six manufacturers had a representative inside the top 10 during the…

    MotoGP
  42. Palmer: Points a weight off my shoulders 08:58

    Palmer: Points a weight off my shoulders

    Renault's Jolyon Palmer says scoring points in Singapore was a "weight off the shoulders" and feels he can tackle the remaining…

    F1
  43. Video: Ralf Schumacher's Formula 4 team 05:48

    Video: Ralf Schumacher's Formula 4 team

    Find out more about the US Racing ADAC Formula 4 team, run by ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher and former Mercedes DTM boss…

    Misc
more news