Williams wants to end its three-year reputation as F1’s worst team with its 10-year plan to become the world champions again.
In 2020, Williams scored zero points. The team gained one point in 2019 and seven in 2018, when it fell from four consecutive podium-scoring seasons to the back of the grid.
For Williams, surviving in the sport was the utmost priority. In the past few years, Williams has been simply trying to exist in the sport. But that will change in the future with their new 10-year plan.
Williams CEO Jost Capito said, “we think about the next 10 years, we are looking how does F1 look like in the 30s? And then based on this, we break this down.”
What does it mean for the next five years? What does it mean for the next two years? And what does it mean until the end of 21?” he further added.
I like Capito, I think he is good for Williams. He does talk sense and keeps it realistic which is important for the team. Hope Albon fits in well and helps the team deliver on the goals Capito has set.
— Graham (@GrahamUK33) October 31, 2021
A lot can happen in 10 years. There will be new manufacturers, new power units and new regulations. During this, Williams will have the chance to make some game-changing strategic moves. Like it did in 2014 when it sided with Mercedes.
Perhaps the next crucial decision in Williams’ books will be if – or when – it needs to split from Mercedes. Even though Mercedes has enjoyed glory, while Williams has been sweating at the back, Capito knows that Mercedes is not a barrier for the racing team.
Williams needs to grow into a regular point-scoring team. A podium-challenging team and probably even a race-winning team before it contemplates the idea that simply being a customer to Mercedes isn’t enough.
Will Williams link up with Volkswagen?
Capito reckons, “Its possible, nor impossible to win a title without being a works team.” However, there’s a possibility that Williams might partner with one of the Volkswagen brands if they enter F1 in 2026.
Capito has a good understanding of the VW world, as he spearheaded VW’s World Rally Championship dominance in the first half of the 2010s.
“There are different ways and you have to see what kind of opportunities come up. And then you have to have the flexibility to move in one or the other direction,” he said.
“You can only do that if you have a proper plan. If you have a 10-year plan, you can have the flexibility short term, as long as you know where you finally want to end up.”
“There are always different ways. And from time to time you have to decide which kind of way you take to achieve the overall goal. There is no one way right and the other is wrong.”
To ensure flexibility, Williams must retain its independence. One of the significant moves of the team has been to increase its technical alliance with Mercedes and stop developing its gearbox.
This wasn’t done to make it more dependent on Mercedes long-term. It allows Williams to spend its resources on the areas it believes will make a bigger difference.
The underlying priority is that Williams maintains its core independence. Otherwise, Capito says, “you would never be able to become world champion”.
“As a B-team, you will never be world champion. And if you make yourself dependent on any other company or any other team, then you will never win the world championship and you will not be credible within the team with having this message.”
“With that, you give up on being world champion. You just say you want to be part of the show. And that’s it.”