Quite a lot of changes in the team for next year:
- Mercedes engines.
- Pat Symonds as a Chief Technical Officer
- Xevi Pujolar leaves and will probably be replaced by Rob Smedley as a Chief Race Engineer
- David Wheater, Deputy Head of Aerodynamics at Lotus is rumoured to join the team, with possibility of taking the role of Head of Aerodynamics as Williams
- Jakob Andreasen, who worked recently as a Chief Race Engineer at Force India, and earlier as a Race Engineer for Button at McLaren, is reported to join the team. It's believed his role will be non-travelling.
- Felipe Massa replaces Pastor Maldonado, which means the team will have a very experienced driver onboard first time since 2011. But it also means the biggest sponsor of Williams by significant margin (and reportedly 5th biggest sponsorship deal among all teams) is needed to be replaced.
Claire Williams revealed Williams have already signed a deal with a new partner and it will be announced at the beginning of next year. It's not clear what kind of sponsor did she refer to. Of course the team will be chasing some Brazilian sponsorship, where Massa declared his help, but it may be also a Qatari sponsorship (Frank in one of recent interviews claimed he still hopes the team can capitalise on Qatar) or just a company from another part of the world which can be interested in taking the most visible places on the car after PDVSA or maybe even a spot of title sponsor, which remains free at Grove-based team since 2011. It's also rumoured that Petrobras want to join one team in 2015 and supply it with fuel, and Williams seems to be an obvious candidate.
The team have already tested some of 2014 parts on the car during FPs' this year. Some of them have even brought improvement in performance of 2013 car, that's why Bottas' strong race in Austin was possible. Some time ago Symonds suggested Williams would consider buying a gearbox from Mercedes (in recent years, Williams have always developed their own gearbox, which could have been a part of the problem, since teams like Force India and Sauber were buying them from other teams and could concentrate their resources on aerodynamics). But now it's reported Williams keep developing their own gearbox for 2014, since their engineers believe they have a solution which is better suited to the aerodynamics of FW36. The team have also in sight a possibility of supplying Force India, or even Mercedes in their gearboxes.
The team faces big changes before 2014, after disastrous 2013. Let's hope they bring more of a long-term improvement in performance than similar changes after 2011. Claire had said that she hoped Williams would be able to have some more announcement slightly after season's end. Let's wait and see if the team can confirm some new engineers and sponsors, and if they can turn-around the performance of their car. With budget, facilities and heritage they have, it's unacceptable to be beaten by teams like Force India or Sauber so many years in row. Williams team has been a sad case of not using their budget properly in recent years, just like Toyota was several years ago.
Edited by Anderis, 01 December 2013 - 19:11.