Williams Martini 2017 Season Review
By Andrew Hooper
January 2 2018
Well it's that time to look back at the Williams Martini teams 2017 season, a difficult and ultimately disappointing one. The team would finish in fifth place in the Constructors having dropped from third. It was a year that saw not only the 2017 FW40 fail to deliver but overall neither team driver, Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, would have a season that really would be remembered. The only real highlight was the third placed finish from Stroll in Azerbaijan combined with his second place qualifying in Italy. Apart from that the Williams team really failed to deliver and this showed in that their main midfield rival Force India would finish their 2017 well ahead.
If you do not already have an account Click here to Register.
Taken out of context, fifth in the WCC with a podium is not too bad of a result for a basically independent team, especially since it comes on the back of two third and another fifth place. Still, I agree that there are definitely few positives to be taken from last season, and that there are reasons to be worried about the team's next seasons.
In my opinion, the worst thing is that the team seems to have lost the positive momentum gained in 2014 and 2015. One could have hoped that passing from a hopeless ninth to third in the WCC would help the team attract sponsors and/or investors and allow it to develop consistently thanks to increased TV rights earnings; this didn't happen, and the heavy spending required to get to speed in 2014 is now taking its toll on the team. We are now back to 2012 situation of having to hire two pay drivers to survive, and even if I agree that the main point of concern is the team's ability to produce a more competitive car than the FW40, we already saw in 2012 the cost of having two inadequate pay-drivers behind the wheel.
On the drivers front I am really disappointed by the team's inability to find a decent replacement for Bottas. The team was clearly put in a very difficult position following Rosberg's retirement, as retaining Bottas would have been very difficult (even if the team did not allow the transfer, would Valtteri's performances not suffer?) and replacing him at such short notice with the driver market already closed was a very difficult task. But now Williams have had a full year to go out and find a suitable candidate for the second seat, and the fact that they managed just a shortlist of rejects is really disappointing. Even considering the team's financial situation, I can't believe that Sirotkin was the best possible solution.
I really hope I will be proven wrong. 2014 started with quite bleak prospects too, and it turned out to be the team's best season in 10 years. Still, right now it is really hard to be optimistic..