The plight of Williams and its failure to start last year’s pre-season testing on time set the tone for the worst year in the team’s history.
The team with 16 Formula 1 championships to its name endured a miserable 2019 as it collected just one point all season with a car way off the pace of its rivals.
Netflix was with the Williams team ahead of last year’s testing and the agonising scenes as bosses realise the car would be late are played out in series two of its Formula 1: Drive to Survive documentary.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams believes the episode “allows us as a team to tell a version of events that we may not otherwise have had the opportunity to”.
She told Autosport : “[It allows us] to really show the blood, sweat and tears, and the pain that really goes on behind a situation.
“People can sometimes just see a situation and not truly understand it and make a judgement. I hope that our episode really shows the truth behind the scenes and how painful it was for all of us.”
What happened to Williams
Testing began in mid-February, more than a month before the first race of 2019.
Williams was the only team that failed to make it on time, not running until the third day of the four-day session.
F1: Drive to Survive captures the moment Claire Williams is given the list of issues that are delaying the completion of the car, the most excruciating of which is the admission the team hasn’t even “got any wheel nuts to hold the wheels on”.
Once the car is on track the number of issues become apparent.
Nine races into the season driver George Russell gives a damning verdict, describing the situation as “a joke”.
“It’s all over the place,” he tells them while trailing last in the British Grand Prix. “Understeer is atrocious, these brakes aren’t improved.
“We’re gonna have to stop, it’s getting to the point of danger. We really, really need to sort this out.”
Despite the brutal words spoken and … scenes unfolding, Claire Williams was full of praise for the Netflix team.
“You ignore [the cameras]. They’re very good, the Netflix team are fantastic. “We’ve obviously worked with them for two years now, and they’ve always been very mindful and conscious of where they are and where they’ve put themselves.
“Having cameras around doesn’t necessarily bother us because we understand the long-term impact of what those cameras are doing.”
Will 2020 be any better?
Testing ahead of F1 2020 started last week at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.
Williams made it on time and, in an act of defiance, made sure its car was the first one on track.
Testing has also suggested the car is also more competitive ahead of the season opener in Australia on March 13-15.
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