Rubens Barrichello says that the Williams team is going to have to improve significantly if he is going to stay on for another year.
“Williams must improve a lot for us to reach an agreement for next year,” he said. “Things are standing still. It’s not worth going on this way. I’m at the top of my game and I’m quite happy with that. Having said that, I need the team to start to shake up and I need to see differences. We need a leader. Right now, it is almost like we have too many, but not enough. A lot of people are trying to say something, but in the end that is not the point. They need to focus on what they are doing.”
The team has failed to win a race since 2004 and in recent seasons has been forced to use drivers who come with sponsorship (or engines) as part of the deal. Patrick Head, who has long been the driving force on the technical side of the team, has sold much of his shareholding in the business and is now concentrating his efforts on the team’s hybrid subsidiary. Such a thing would have been unthinkable five years ago.
Sir Frank Williams remains the figurehead, but the day-to-day management of the company has been handed over to others. They have expanded the team into other areas, to create a more stable basis as a business, but the key to success in F1 is not empire-building. It is about focus and leadership; about knowing how to inspire others to share your dream and finding the right people to build the fastest possible racing cars and not letting anything stand in the way of that process. If a team is winning, the rest will follow. Diversifying into new businesses, as McLaren has shown, is all well and good – once there is success on which to build.