Williams’ Jost Capito and Simon Roberts discuss the team’s new ownership, the latter also discussing their new FW43B.
The F1 team was purchased in September 2020, changing hands from the Williams family to an American firm Dorilton Capital after last year’s Italian GP. Capito, who was appointed as the team’s CEO in mid-December last year, says he has been sufficiently impressed with the US investors, who have worked as an effective front office at Williams.
Capito says that 2021 will be a ‘transitional year’ for the team, as they embark on ‘a new era’ beginning in the upcoming season. “I must say, starting that I have been very impressed by Dorilton,” Capito told media, including Formulaapida.net. “They are a very good owner with the right mindset and resources, and they are very supportive to the team.
“We are at the dawn of a new era at Williams. I would characterise 2021 as a transitional year for the team where our aim is to close the gap as much as possible. However, our resources are very much focused on 2022 and the new regulations,” Capito adds as he echoes their competitors.
“This is where we see the opportunity to make the first significant steps in competitiveness for Williams in our new era. And from there, we will build. But we are realistic, there is never a quick fix. What we are developing is a step by step, long term plan to restore this team to the front end of Formula 1.
“So while we will clearly still be racing as hard as we can in 2021, our focus is already very much on building for the future, from 2022 and beyond,” Capito explained. The team will undergo some restructuring in the coming time, he explained, with those who will be replaced and the people set to replace them to be announced later.
“We will restructure a bit, but it’s not announced yet,” said Capito. “We will get some more key people on board, and we believe to really focus on the team principal with Simon, and to confirm him on that role and to focus on the racing activities there and representing the team is an important step for us that we can build the rest of the team around it.
“You will see some changes coming up soon,” Capito promised, as the team look to improve after a scoreless 2020 season. Last Friday, they launched their FW43B – the first car under new ownership – to mixed reviews of its livery design, which featured remarkably few sponsor logos.
Capito says more partners can be expected to join Williams soon, likely appearing on their 2021 car which featured a number of spaces seemingly suitable for various sponsors. “We are very much focusing on developing the brand, positioning the brand this year,” he said. “We’ve got partners on board and there are some to come very soon, so you can expect some announcements.”
The FW43B’s launch revealed little about the car itself, with the team’s spending of their development tokens not even immediately apparent as it was with many other F1 teams’ cars. Though Roberts, the team’s managing director, explains that the team spent one of their tokens developing their 2020 car beyond the homologation date, he refuses to say where either token was used – adding that one was used last year itself.
“We spent one of our tokens last year, and I’m not going to divulge where we spent it,” said Roberts. “Because we spent it last year and it left us one over, there wasn’t enough to get into the nose or any of the structures. As you’ll have seen on the release, we’re running the same nose as last year, and that’s where we are.
“The homologation didn’t help us from that point of view, but it hasn’t held us back in terms of developing the rest of the car and taking weight out,” Roberts said, before addressing a few aerodynamic changes they made. “Obviously the brake ducts changed, and we worked those heavily and all the diffuser area, but then all teams have done that. It’s not really been a factor, I don’t think.
“It helps us next year, because we don’t have to spend the time and effort redesigning our gearbox due to our deal with Mercedes. That’s a given, and we can redeploy that resource on other areas of performance on the car. That’s part of the strategy, that’s part of the rebuild and transition that we’re in,” Roberts said.
Talking about weight saving, Roberts didn’t wish to go deep into the changes under the cover of the Williams FW43B. “It’s pretty hidden, I guess,” he said. “Under the skin of the car, there’s been a huge amount of work done and a lot of tidying up. And because there is so much carryover and homologation, it gives everyone a second or third chance to go around their components and we haven’t missed a single opportunity.
“So we’ve taken weight wherever we can – safety is paramount and that’s always at the back of our mind – and obviously some things are homologated. But there’s still plenty of opportunity and compared to where we were last year when we started, even though we worked really hard last year and managed to get the car to where it needs to be from a weight point of view, it’s really good to be able to start this year with ballast on the car, basically,” summed up Roberts.
Here’s 2021 Williams F1 livery