Williams overhaul their structure to focus on F1
After selling off a tech company and restructuring their team, Williams are enjoying a successful start to the new season
Williams have underlined their absolute determination to get back to where they believe they belong, at the top of Formula 1, by deciding to sell off one of their successful ancillary companies. Williams Hybrid Power, which develops electric ywheel energy storage technology, has been sold to the global engineering group GKN.
Williams will, however, retain Advanced Engineering, another of their companies, which provides "world class technical innovation, engineering, testing, and manufacturing services to a diverse customer base”. Although both companies have provided revenues to the wider Williams group, Advanced Engineering provides the most, and Williams are holding on to it because they believe it will continue to do so.
According to deputy team principal Claire Williams, a decision has been made to focus the business more on F1 and on where the board believes the most lucrative future revenue streams will come from. This follows a major restructuring of the F1 team during 2013 and over the winter, after Williams and the rest of the board realised they had lost their way.
The leadership structure was overhauled as technical director Mike Coughlan left and was replaced by Pat Symonds in the new role of chief technical ofcer. Symonds, in turn, set about reorganising the engineering staff. The nal piece in that jigsaw fell into place in Bahrain, when former Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley joined Williams in his new role as head of vehicle performance.
The evidence so far is that the changes have made a difference. Even allowing for the advantage of a Mercedes engine, Williams have made a big step forward, battling with McLaren and Force India for the honour of being fastest Mercedes team in the early part of the season.
For Williams, that is not enough. But it is another step in the right direction.