Williams switched focus to 2023 when P10 in 2022 became inevitable

Alex Albon heads through Les Combes. Spa August 2022. Credit: Alamy
Alex Albon heads through Les Combes. Spa August 2022. Credit: Alamy

With their place at the bottom of the standings all but confirmed, Williams opted to switch to their 2023 car before most of their competitors.

2022 was Williams’ worst since the 2020 campaign and their title-winning, or even race winning days, seem like a long time ago.

They may have ended 2022 with eight more points than they did in 2020 but with Haas’ improvement, they were cut adrift from the rest of the grid, finishing 27 points behind AlphaTauri.

With that in mind, they opted to switch focus to 2023 with former boss Jost Capito stating that it “doesn’t make sense” to continue working on a car that is so far behind the rest of the field.

“When you see from there that shortly after, the gap to the ninth and eighth, is too big, that it doesn’t make sense to put effort in this year’s car,” said Capito, as per Motorsport.com

“You would stay 10th, and then you miss out on putting the effort in next year’s car. So when we saw that we’ll be 10th, it doesn’t matter what the gap is, then put all the effort into next year’s car.

“That’s what we did shortly after we had the big upgrade at Silverstone.”

If Capito is correct and the team started working on the 2023 car shortly after Silverstone, that would mean that they would have started in July, giving them seven months before its anticipated unveiling in February.

That work will be needed as 2023 represents a season of change for Williams with long term driver Nicholas Latifi heading out the door for rookie Logan Sargeant and Capito’s surprise departure with a replacement yet to be announced.

Before he departed, Capito remarked that they still had to focus on the long term rather than the short term.

“We’re still not there where the others are,” the German said.

“That’s why it needs really the long-term view until it’s balanced. You say, ‘oh you all now have the same money, so you should be all on the same level’ – no, the teams went on different levels into the cost cap.

“We see Williams before the cost cap had hardly anything to invest for years. So they fell behind.

“Now to catch up with the same amount that everybody has, it’s not just solved by throwing money at it.”

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