mario wrote:It does feel as if Williams are really trying to erode decades worth of goodwill right now...
It's no secret that I am a Williams fan, but I think my post suggests that I don't think this is a great move for the team. Having Jamie Chadwick as a recent development driver may or may not have been a publicity move in a similar way to Susie Stoddart/Wolff, but this can not be positive from a media/publicity perspective, so they either see potential in Tinktum that we are not seeing, or money is involved somehow. Either way, I am fearing for the long-term future of the team in F1. If they don't recover to McLaren levels, I can see them going the way of (original) Lotus, Brabham, Tyrrell, etc. within the next decade. Which would be a great shame, but...
At least Chadwick is a lot more likely to generate positive headlines for Williams - pretty much every time that an article is written about Dan Ticktum, there is the inevitable mention of his hot headedness and mistakes that drag down his reputation and, by association, that of Williams.
Taking on Ticktum feels like a major gamble by the team - it seems unlikely that he would be bringing in huge amounts of sponsorship, as his reputation is likely to damage those prospects, and I am not aware of any major source of personal wealth which he could draw upon. That would perhaps suggest they are hoping he turns out to be quick and does have more long term potential than he is showing right now, which is still a heck of a gamble.
I agree that, right now, I do also have concerns about the long term stability and viability of Williams. To be honest, Williams have been looking fragile ever since they lost the BMW backing in the mid 2000s, but for a while they could get around it thanks to Nakajima and the support from Toyota they got, with Rosberg bringing in enough points to make things viable.
However, things really seemed to just start going downhill around 2011 - it feels like so many of their cars from then onwards had flaws, and it felt as if the team went from radical concepts that failed that then led to conservative designs, before going back to more radical concepts that failed again.
The internal politics are not great either - we've had several senior figures come and go, which only seems to be destabilising the team further and making it more difficult to reform the technical section, which you feel needs a major overhaul.
The problem is, it is hard to see how exactly Williams are going to pull themselves out of their current situation. McLaren certainly hit hard times, but they were starting from a better position as they have the backers who have been putting the necessary money in to reform the team - in fact, they seem to have been the ones driving the reform - and they were able to act more promptly.
Williams do not have that source of external funding to reform the team - they might have had that with Stroll on board, but his departure to Racing Point has now exposed their funding deficit. They might benefit from the planned financial reforms, but right now it feels like Williams are just trying to hold on as best they can and seem to be staking a lot on those 2021 regulatory overhauls.
The problem is, is that going to be enough by itself? Williams won't benefit from the budget cap, as they come beneath that already, so it really depends on whether the other cost cutting measures will be enough - and I'm not sure that will be enough.
They've managed to cling on for now, but I do get that feeling that we're going to see something like Brabham or Lotus - I don't think that Williams will be able to sell up in the way that Tyrrell could.