Claire Williams on team’s decline: ‘We never saw it coming!’

Claire Williams admits the tumble and painful regress of Williams this year has been a shock, and left the deputy team principal in a state of personal grief.

Williams’ status as a top mid-field contender has eroded since last season, its 2018 FW41 beleaguered by deep aerodynamic problems for which the Grove-based outfit has no quick fix.

The car’s depressed performance has taken its toll on Williams’ results, the British outfit sitting a lonely last at the bottom of F1’s Constructors’ standings, with just 4 points, courtesy of an eighth-place finish delivered in lucky circumstances by Lance Stroll in Baku.

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“If anyone had told me last season that what we are going through now was coming, then I would have been horrified,” Williams said in an interview with The New York Times.

“We never saw it coming. Clearly, it’s been a big shock. It’s like experiencing grief.

“It is my team, it’s very personal to me, and I’ve always said the team is like another sibling. I care for it deeply, and all I do is try and nurture it.

“At the moment, my team is in the wars, and I take that personally.”

The team’s rapid decline and poor state of affairs is only worsened by its inability to extricate itself from the doldrums anytime soon, such is the extent of the troubles impacting its FW41.

“At the moment everything that comes feels like a body blow, particularly when we’re at the end of a tripleheader and you know the next race is going to be as bad as the previous one,” added the 41-year-old deputy team principal.

“But you’ve got to keep the faith and keep working through it.”

Williams’ miseries this season brought on the departures back in May of chief designer Ed Wood and head of aero Dirk De Beers.

Chief technical officer Paddy Lowe believes however he has the right team to get on top of Williams’ predicament.

“I have some really great people around me,” said Lowe.

“There are some reinforcements needed, but we have the core of a really great team, so I think we are in a position to start turning in the right direction.”

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