The Williams Racing announced that Team Principal and CEO Jost Capito and the Technical Director FX Demaison has confirmed that they will be leaving the team ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season.
In a statement published by the team, Jost said it was a “huge privilege to lead Williams Racing” and to “lay the foundations for the turnaround.” He went on to say that he will be “watching the team as it continues on its path to future success.”
The Chairman of Dorilton Capital Matthew Savage thanked Jost for his “hard work and dedication” as they “embarked on a major transformation process to begin reviving Williams Racing.” He went on to say, “We also thank FX for his contribution and wish him all the best for his future as he moves on.”
Williams Racing was sold to Dorilton Capital in 2020 after discussions with the Williams Family. This lead to both Capito and Demaison’s arrival to the team.
The 2022 season is finally here with a race at Bahrain to kick us off for the third year in a row. The anticipation is high with the new regulations, new tyres and optimism that the cars will be able to race much closer than last year.
Having been pushed back a year because of covid we finally get to see Formula 1’s big changes to produce more exciting racing. However, testing is over and the teams and drivers, hopefully, understand their cars a little better after all the changes and upgrades between Barcelona and Bahrain.
Mercedes will be looking to defend their constructors title with their new, slimmed down car very different to anything else on the grid. In Barcelona they didn’t blow everyone away despite putting in the fastest laps, but they seem to have improved in Bahrain. During testing Lewis Hamilton did say they might not be competing for wins, but we have heard that before?
Ferrari look to be very reliable and so far meeting the expectations of those that thought they were going to have a quick car this year. They looked to be one of the fastest teams in both testing sessions and have been very consistent and reliable throughout both tests.
Red Bull are there or thereabouts. They have had issues, but reigning world Champion Verstappen finished with the fastest lap of testing. Looking towards the year he will be looking to drag everything out of that car to defend his title.
McLaren look to be the other team which may be in the title fight after testing. They had a solid car in Barcelona, but reliability issues and a sick driver means they haven’t had the running they would like to go into the first race. Daniel Ricciardo should be back for FP1, provided he has a negative covid test.
Looking further back Aston Martin and Alpine are still very much looking towards the midfield with a hope for some podiums. Alfa Romeo and Williams look to be close to each other as will. They have been very close on times throughout testing so will be in a battle with each other all season.
Haas have been the surprise of testing. They were granted an extra hour at the end of day 2 and 3 in Bahrain to make up for their lack of running in the morning of day 1 because of flight delays. However, with the return of Kevin Magnussen, he went fastest at the end of day 2. Not to be left out Mick Schumacher was P2 by the end of day 3.
Testing times can never been taken as the definitive order, however it has been great to see how these cars might work in race conditions. We won’t completely know until Sunday afternoon if the new philosophy has worked but we are all excited to get racing again 92 days later.
Formula One announce that they have signed a new deal with the Chinese Grand Prix organiser Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China and the Shanghai Administration of Sports and the Chinese Grand Prix Promoter, Juss Sports Group to extend their contract to 2025.
The race has been on the calendar since 2004 and seen some dramatic moments over the years. From Lewis Hamilton’s dramatic 2007 exit in the pitlane, to Nico Rosberg taking his maiden grand prix victory in 2012. Rubens Barrichello took the first victory in 2004 when driving for Ferrari and Fernando Alonso who had already wrapped up the world championship that year took victory in 2005 from pole. The Spaniard also took victory in 2013 for Ferrari. Mercedes have taken the most victories at the track with six wins. It is also the place that Michael Schumacher took his final victory during 2006, his last year at Ferrari.
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said:
“This is great news for all of our fans in China and we are delighted to announce this agreement that will see us racing in Shanghai until 2025. Our partnership with the promoter Juss Sports is incredibly strong and we look forward to continuing our long-term partnership. While we are all disappointed, we could not include China on the 2022 calendar due to ongoing pandemic conditions, China will be restored to the calendar as soon as conditions allow and we look forward to being back with the fans as soon as we can.”
Of course, the race has been cancelled for the last two years due to the pandemic, so the promoter will be happy that they have secured the future of the event on the calendar for the next few years.
You cannot talk about Michael Schumacher, without bringing up his various incidents on track. I’ve picked out these particular examples, one of which came before his Formula One debut.
1990 Macau Grand Prix
This event, held for Formula Three cars saw a big battle between him and Mika Hakkinen. On the last lap of the event, having just started the final lap Mika was tucked up under the rear wing of Michael’s Reynard, and didn’t need to overtake the German to win the event. As the Finn went to pass his rival, Michael made the one move which would become a signature of his career and the two cars come together. Mika’s car, run by West Surrey Racing, was damaged on the left-hand side, with broken suspension and front wing. Mika was out, and Michael went on to win the event.
1994 Australian Grand Prix
For the next incident, we jump forwards to 1994. The battle that year between Damon and Michael was epic. As the two drivers came to the final race of the year, the Australian Grand Prix, held at the iconic Adelaide street circuit, Damon was just a single point behind Michael, after taking victory in a very wet Japanese Grand Prix. Now on lap 35, having taken the lead at the start of the race from Nigel Mansell who was on pole position, the Benetton driver had a moment coming into a left-hand corner, and he caught the rear of the car, but went wide, hitting the wall on the exit, and almost certainly damaging his car. Damon was around two seconds away, and witnessed Michael re-joining the track. The Brit didn’t know that Michael had hit the wall. Coming into the following right-hand corner, Damon moved to the inside of Michael, but the gap closed down, and the two cars came together. Now, Michael certainly knew that his car was damaged, so, did he move over on his championship rival? My opinion is that he did.
1997 European Grand Prix
Moving on to the next incident at Jerez at the end of 1997, I believe that this was pretty obvious to all. The battle between Jacques Villeneuve and the German for that season’s title, as Ferrari looked at the time to win their first championship since 1979 was big indeed, and Michael once more was leading the championship by one point as they came to the finale. The top three set the same time in qualifying with the Canadian on pole, followed by Michael, and then Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Michael took the lead, and Jacques dropped behind his teammate to third place. During lap seven, Jacques passed Heinz, and set about closing the gap to Michael. On lap 22 they both pitted, but Michael’s pace on his new set of tyres was not very good, and Jacques closed the gap down. During lap 47 the Canadian was right with Michael, and took a last gasp move up the inside, taking the Ferrari driver by surprise. Michael attempted to stop the Williams driver, by hitting the side of Jacques car, but this resulted in the steering getting broken on the Ferrari, and the car ended up in the gravel trap on the outside of the right-hand corner. It was a blatant move, and the FIA removed Michael from the drivers’ championship standings.
2000 Belgian Grand Prix
Moving onto the next big moment, which happened at the Belgian Grand Prix during the 2000 season. This was different from the previous events as it was not a championship decider, but Mika Hakkinen and Michael were still fighting for the championship. It was a wet to dry race and Mika led the race early on, with his rival down in fourth place. By lap 13 Michael was close enough to take advantage of Mika’s spin to take the lead. The Ferrari ace then had a 5.6 second lead at the end of the lap. As we came to the last few laps, Mika had been catching the leader, who had been suffering with tyres that had been overheating for a number of laps. He’d been driving off line on the Kemmel Straight to cool his tyres down, whilst Mika brought the gap down to just 1.6 seconds with just ten laps left. Coming up the Kemmel Straight with just five laps left, Mika was right on the tail of the Ferrari, and took a look up the inside but Michael edged the Ferrari over on the McLaren and Mika had to back out as the gap closed down. It was over the mark though, as Mika was very close to ending up on the grass. The McLaren driver got his own back however on the following lap with a dramatic move, and one that is well known – yes, that move with Ricardo Zonta in his BAR-Honda in the middle.
2006 Monaco Grand Prix
We head to Monte Carlo for the next incident, the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix. Towards the end of qualifying, as Michael had already set the fastest time, and was on pole position, he came to La Rascasse, and didn’t make the corner. Meanwhile, his big rival for the championship, Fernando Alonso was on a quick lap, going purple in the first sector. Back at La Rascasse, the German ace was parked up, meaning that there were yellows being waved. Alonso had to back out of his quick lap, and thus it was suspected that Michael had done this deliberately. The FIA believed it, and after several hours the stewards stripped the Ferrari driver of pole, thus elevating the Renault driver who was second fastest.
2010 Hungarian Grand Prix
The final moment came in 2010 during the year when Michael made his return to Formula One with Mercedes-Benz, and it was against his former Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello during that years Hungarian Grand Prix. Coming to the end of the race, the Brasilian, who had qualified his Williams-Cosworth in twelfth position, was right on the German’s tail. Coming onto the start finish straight, Michael’s car slid at the rear mid corner point. Rubens was now within a one car length of the Mercedes-Benz, and was benefiting from the tow halfway down the straight. Michael had his car in the middle of the track, giving space to Rubens to go either side. The gap on the inside was starting to close, but there was good space for the Williams driver to make a move up the inside. By the time that Rubens was halfway alongside Michael, the gap had reduced and the pitwall was getting closer and closer as Michael continued to reduce the space that Rubens had. In the end the gap came right down to the point that Rubens left-hand tyres were on the inner white line near the pitwall, with the result that the right-hand side was very close to hitting the pitwall! Thankfully, the pitlane was just beyond, and crucially no-one was exiting the pitlane at that moment! There was immediate criticism after the race of Michael’s actions. One thing was true – he’d lost nothing of his dislike of being overtaken, and was still willing to push the envelope of what was right. Michael was given a ten-place grid penalty for the following race in Belgium, and although he initially defended his actions, he later apologised for his actions.
Michael Schumacher was an incredible talent – there is no doubt about this. But he really used to push the envelope as to what was acceptable. He became the most successful driver ever, winning 91 races and seven world championships, but there will always be these incidents casting a shadow over his career.
In 2019, Robert Kubica returned to racing in Formula 1. The 34-year-old Pole was the main star of this year’s edition of Verva Street Racing in Gdynia, Poland.
“I am glad that I am here and I am part of this event and I can once again present myself in an F1 car, although in compromised conditions,” Kubica said about the event.
“I think that for fans this is a great opportunity and I hope that I encourage new fans to watch motorsport and instil a passion for this sport into them.”
Before returning to F1, Kubica was to be the driver of the ByKolles team, which competes in WEC in the LMP1 class. The Pole gave up being part of the team, which cancelled his starts in this series. He commented his chances to start in the legendary 24-hour Le Mans race were as follows:
“My adventure [with ByKolles] ended quite early, actually before it began. At the moment I am focusing on my work and I don’t know what will happen in the future. I think the situation, where I was in three years ago and now where I am, is completely different.”
The 2019 season hasn’t been the most successful for Williams so far. The team from Grove for a long time was the only team which hasn’t scored a point during the first half of the season. After the rainy German Grand Prix and a penalty on both Alfa Romeo drivers, one point appeared on Williams’ account.
“I think the season started very hard,” Kubica said. I think that there were a lot of problems not only when it comes to the performance of the car, but also other problems that unfortunately disturbed the racing process and I think that it had the biggest influence of later driving and the result .
“The most emotional race so far was definitely in Australia, because it was the first race after a really long break, and when it comes to driving, I think the coolest ride was on the streets of Monaco.”
This week F1 returns after the summer break and the 13th race of the 2019 season will take place at Spa-Francorchamps. There are a lot of rumours about the future of 34-year-old Williams driver. When Kubica was asked about being in F1 in 2020, he answered:
Robert Kubica – many fans were waiting for his comeback to F1. The winner of 2008 Canadian Grand Prix is the reserve & development driver for Williams. After qualifications of Azerbejian GP, the polish driver answered some questions asked by Julia Paradowska.
Julia Paradowska:The Chinese GP was much better for Williams than Bahrain and Australia. Do you think it’s possible to get their first points of the season for the team in the upcoming races? Robert Kubica: Well, Formula 1 is a fantastic sport because it is changing very quickly. Of course we are beginning the season not where we expected. In the initial races we did face more issues than we had hoped so generally we are working on trying to improve areas where we face issues. We will be on tracks where we could be performing better. As I think all of the cars in the paddock have better tracks and worse tracks so there is time for our car. But this doesn’t exclude that generally we have to keep working and keep focusing on as we think we have an issue.
JP: How does a non-race week look for you as the reserve & development driver? RK: For sure it is completely different to a race driver’s weekend. Nonetheless it’s still very exciting for me to be back in the paddock. Ok, it is a different role than I have been used to but still this gives me an opportunity to stay close in the team, stay close to the sport to which I have a lot of passion. It gives me the opportunity to see a Grand Prix weekend from a different perspective and a different point of view so it is a good opportunity for me. It isn’t easy to see and hear what I was racing but still as I said I am enjoying it and I am trying to help the team as much as I can.
JP: What’s your part in solving team problems? RK: My part as a driver is to try to give the best feel as it is possible when I get to drive a car. As a part of my role I am doing a lot of simulation work so we are trying to improve our simulator, to improve our correlation between the simulator and reality. As part of our development, I am doing a part of our development programme which is involving me doing some internal technical meetings so as you can see I am a bit more than just a reserve driver and this is very nice from the team. I am really keen to play a part and also trying to help the team but also to learn from other people.
JP: Before the 2018 season there was much speculation about your comeback to F1. Did these rumours sometimes get you tired? RK: Well, it is a part of the game and I think the media got very excited about the possibility for me to comeback as a race driver. I think everybody was trying to get their opinion around. I think this was the normal approach from the media. It looks like during November-December my name appeared and was quite popular and I think media had some speculations to talk so they used it.
JP: F1 is a sport that is constantly evolving, changing. What do you miss the most when compared to the beginning of your career? RK: Driving, very simple and being younger. But on the other side I have much more experience so actually experience is helping a lot.
Generally, I think the sound was making F1 races very exciting which we are missing. It is easier for media commitments – in the past it wasn’t as easy, you were travelling to do interviews as well. The Season was running and we can do it (the interview) so there is always pros and negatives.
Let me take you back in time. In 1997, the reigning F1 champion was Damon Hill. He’d won the title when driving for Williams-Renault, but had lost his seat to Heinz-Harald Frentzen at the end of 1996.
Nineteen ninety-seven was tough for Damon, but there came a moment in that year’s 11th round in Hungary. He qualified 3rd on the grid with only Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve ahead. After qualifying, he was in a bullish mood and was clearly up to the fight for the win.
After the start, Michael and Damon were running first and second. Do remember that the Arrows were running Bridgestone tyres and most of the others were on Goodyear’s. From lap five to lap ten, Damon started to close the gap to Schumacher’s Ferrari, and at the start of lap ten, Damon pounced and took the lead at turn one.
The reason for Michael’s lack of pace? Well, the Goodyear tyres were blistering in the relentless hot weather that day in Hungary.
So, what happened next? Well, after 15 laps, Damon had a 7.9 second lead over Jacques. He was in the groove! On lap 19, he lapped his teammate, Pedro Diniz who was in 19th place. Twenty-two laps into the race, and the gap between Damon and Jacques was 5.1 seconds.
Lap 23, and Jacques and DC in his McLaren pitted for new tyres and fuel. Damon pitted at the end of the same lap. All the other teams made their stops and Frentzen was in the lead at the start of lap 27, but heading into lap 28, he would start to get a problem with his car, which was highlighted with flames coming out of the rear. At the end of this lap he made his stop for tyres and fuel, but the team would retire the car.
Damon was back in the lead at the start of lap 30, with 47 still to go. Pole sitter Michael was down in 4th. Jacques, David and Michael were running together, 33 laps into the race, contesting 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
However, Michael pitted at the end of that lap, leaving JV and DC to fight.
At the start of lap 36 Damon’s lead over the remaining Williams Renault was now over 12 seconds. The top five was now, Hill, Villeneuve, Coulthard, Herbert, Schumacher. Into lap 40 and the lead was now 18 seconds. Just a remarkable drive from the reigning champion.
Lap 44, and Damon’s lead was now 21 seconds over JV, who was continuing to fight to keep David behind him. Such was Damon’s dominance, he even lapped Jean Alesi during this lap.
Over the next few laps, the lead would grow larger between Damon and JV. Damon and Jacques would make their second pitstops on lap 51. The lead that Damon had was now 26 seconds. To explain how big this lead was, Damon was already turning into the first corner, whilst Jacques and DC were in the penultimate corner.
Fifty-three laps down, and Jacques was 27 seconds down on the leader. We started to believe that we would witness a famous victory. What could stop Damon and Arrows-Yamaha?
Just as JV and DC lapped Pedro Diniz, Damon’s teammate retired from the race. Lap 57 and Damon was now 29 seconds ahead of second placed Jacques, with DC keeping him close company. How far back was Michael? 54 seconds! Just incredible.
We were in the final stages of the race and there were around 17 laps to go. Brothers Michael and Ralf were fighting over fifth position and Johnny Herbert was ahead of them both in 4th place. Damon’s lead was now over 30 seconds.
On the 65th lap, David retired from the race. Johnny in his Sauber was promoted to 3rd place. With twelve laps to go, the top five was, Hill, Villeneuve, Herbert, M. Schumacher, R. Schumacher.
Damon’s lead had increased again and was now 32 seconds. In fact, it continued to grow with each lap. On lap 72 the lead was now 35 seconds. There were just five laps left. Fourth to seventh was covered by just a few seconds with Michael leading Ralf (Jordan), then Eddie in the other Ferrari and finally Nakano in the Prost Mugen-Honda. Just three laps remaining! I remember thinking, this is it. Damon’s going to do it!
He started lap 75….. He started having problems accelerating and you could see the car was visibly slower. The car had suffered hydraulic failure and it was stuck in fifth gear.
Jarno Trulli unlapped himself at the end of lap 76. Then Gerhard Berger as well, who was in 8th position.
The Arrows was still moving though and it was the last lap. After turn three Jacques took the lead in spectacular style, putting two wheels on the grass! The dream of victory was over for Damon and Arrows. Now it was all about making sure he finished on the podium. JV crossed the line and celebrated his victory, Damon finished in second place and Johnny Herbert third for Sauber. Jacques winning margin in the end was 9 seconds.
It was a remarkable race, which will always remain in my memory and shows just how good Damon was at developing a car. This would also be the last time a driver from Arrows would stand on a podium.