Williams had to make processes fit for modern era Formula 1

Jack Cozens
Williams had to make processes fit for modern era
Williams had to make processes fit for modern era

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says the Formula 1 team had to overhaul its planning processes in order to bring it "into the modern era" of grand prix racing.

The team finished last in the constructors' championship for a second year in a row in 2019 and recorded a single point, while the campaign was also the worst in Williams's history in terms of its deficit to the front of the field.

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After Williams's FW42 arrived late to testing, and chief technical officer Paddy Lowe left the team, Williams conducted a review that resulted in widespread changes including an improved process to track the design and manufacturing of its parts.

"One of the areas that wasn't as strong as it should have been was our planning function and end-to-end planning," said Williams.

"So that is making sure that we had the process for a part in aero, going through to the design office then going into production and manufacturing - that wasn't as strong as it should have been.

"We have now resolved that.

"We have just put into the business back in June this year a fully formed planning function that is solely dedicated to that end-to-end planning of racecar design through to racecar production.

Williams had to make processes fit for modern era
Williams had to make processes fit for modern era

"Each area has a business manager in that planning function that is responsible for the design office or in the windtunnel for ATF, or whatever it may be, so that that person is responsible for those people in aero hitting their deadlines.

"But that planning function is responsible for so much more.

"They need to understand the capacity in every area as well and need to understand how long it takes to make that one small part of the car.

"There's a huge amount of data capture that's had to go on as well because you can imagine a team like ours has been around for a long time and may have been doing processes in quite a loose way - post-it notes going around, for example - and we need to get out of that and have proper systems in place."

Williams said implementing the new process had been the "the biggest learning" for the outfit, and that its previous practices were the legacy of "a team that has grown up over four decades".

"We've had a lot of people stay within the business for a long time but if you lose one of those key heads that has got all the information in their heads, you think you might capture it or before they leave but something's going to fall, and we can't we can't operate like that," she continued.

"We have to bring Williams into the modern era of F1 racing.

"I'm not saying that it was so prehistoric and it wasn't that, I don't want to give that impression, because it wasn't.

"We needed to just bring it even further forward."

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