Considering some of the performances a few years ago, Williams would have said that fifth in the Constructors Championship would have been excellent.
However, the loss of performance through 2016 was worrying and allowed Force India to take the advantage and loose their position as the leading Mercedes customer team.
2014 was certainly a turnaround year for Williams, taking the Mercedes engine at just the right time which saw them mix it at the front of the field against their supplier. Ever since though it has been a bit of a struggle.
Under the direction of Claire Williams another reorganisation for 2017 has taken place. Out has gone former technical chief Pat Symonds, and inbound has come Paddy Lowe from Mercedes, who has also joined the board of directors and holds a shareholding within the team. It is somewhat of a homecoming, after working at the team in the early 90’s and will be a big asset for the seasons ahead.
Another surprise was the driver line up, with the team set to have Valtteri Bottas and Canadian rookie Lance Stroll. The retirement of World Champion Nico Rosberg changed that situation though, with the Finn leaving for Mercedes, with the blessing of the team.
It meant that a retiring Felipe Massa was brought back into the team for another season, partly due to the sponsorship obligations and a known quantity against Lance Stroll, even if he wasn’t as quick as Bottas last year.