Magnussen and the Williams problems: “They wanted me but I’m out of money! What kind of team is it?”

Former Haas driver: “They asked me to replace Russell but I had to find the sponsors. The right move was to fire Latifi and keep Russell ”. But the problem is the lack of money, so much so that the team will not do the Pirelli tests with 18 “tires.

Just last week fell the 24th anniversary of the 1997 European GP and of the famous bumper car between Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, which awarded the world title to the Canadian Williams. An episode that has entered the history of Formula 1, due to the controversy following the maneuver of the German from Ferrari (who would later be disqualified) but also for having effectively closed the epic of world championship triumphs for the English team. Since that October 26, 1997, a lot of water has passed under the bridges and the geography of the winning teams has been revolutionized by the arrival of new car manufacturers, who have stolen the stage from motorsport pioneers such as Sir Frank Williams.

the american williams

For the team based in Grove, which entered into financial difficulties and sunk into the slums of the Constructors’ classification (from 2018 to 2020 the worst results in F1), the opportunity to reverse the trend came at the end of last World Championship, when the Williams family it sold control of the shares to the US investment fund Dorilton Capital. Certainly a memorable moment for the paddock, which had to collect the definitive exit of Frank Williams and his daughter Claire in order to preserve the name and the legacy of one of the most famous teams in history. And even if the results on the track are there for all to see, the economic problems have not yet been completely resolved.

magnussen per russell?

Despite the change of ownership and the injection of fresh capital, at the end of 2020 the new leaders of the team would still have thought about making cash. To reveal the background is Kevin Magnussen, former Formula 1, who at that time learned the choice Haas not to renew his contract for 2021. The Danish driver has in fact revealed that he had been contacted by Williams executives to take over from rising star George Russell, responsible for most of the team’s positive results this year (including the resounding second place in the Belgian GP) and now in the process of joining Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes.

the words of magnussen

“I had the opportunity – Magnussen explained to the Danish broadcaster TV3 – to stay in F1. I was in contact with Williams but they offered me a return to the status I had at the time of McLaren and Renault. Basically, I had to find a huge amount of sponsors and offer the team a substantial amount … They saw me as a replacement for Russell and I immediately thought: ‘What kind of team is this? Getting rid of George to keep Latifi would be idiotic. ‘ He’s super talented, if Williams really wanted to do something good, they should have fired Latifi and taken me along with Russell. That would have been a strong couple … ”.

williams, no pirelli tests

Beyond the indiscretion launched by Magnussen, what is certain is that the English team has not resolved all the financial problems that had forced the Williams family to surrender the baton. One test is the choice not to take part in the Pirelli tests that will be held after the Abu Dhabi GP on 12 December, in which the teams will be able to test the 2022 compounds: a decisive stage for the short-term future, with drivers and engineers who they will have the chance to become familiar with the revolutionary 18-inch tires (13 ”wheels are currently used in F1) that will debut next season. To make sense of the test, however, it would be necessary to use the so-called mule cars, or current F1 cars modified in suspension and aerodynamics, in order to simulate the downforce levels of the new generation single-seaters. And it is precisely the choice not to assemble any “forklift” to oust Williams from testing. “The basic reason – confessed Dave Robson, track engineer in charge of performance – is financial. There was no conviction that it was worth spending some money to adapt the car to the 2022 tires. We simply did not have the resources to do it and now it would be too late anyway ”.

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Magnussen and the Williams problems: “They wanted me but I’m out of money! What kind of team is it?”

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