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2014: Williams out of wilderness?

2014-03-04 08:40

WILLIAMS EYEING 2014 SUCCESS: Williams 2014 F1 car in action at pre-season testing in Bahrain. Image: AFP


PARIS, France - It's been 17 years since Williams last won a world title but Formula 1 grand old men are showing unexpected signs of life after long and barren seasons in the wilderness.

When four days of 2014 testing wrapped up in Bahrain on March 2 Felipe Massa was on top of the time sheets for the rejuvenated British team that's making the most of the switch to V6 engines.

Massa, having left behind some trying times with Ferrari where he was replaced by Kimi Raikkonen, clocked the best time at Sakhir, 1min33.25 after an impressive 202 laps.


Team mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth-fastest overall, the Williams cars sandwiching the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Massa said on Sunday: "We had a very good day doing almost 100 laps. I'm really happy with the car and feel we found a good balance. We did so much work on the set-up but it is very important that we go to Australia prepared.

"Of course one is always happy when your name is at the top but, as well as performance, it was good for the distance covered and reliability of the car which we know is needed for Australia."

Williams has appeared in more than 600 races, capturing nine Constructors and seven Drivers' titles, but the most recent were way back in 1997, courtesy of Jacques Villeneuve. 2013 saw the team collect only five points with a ninth place finish - it's worst-yet season.


Pastor Maldonado was responsible for the team's most recent success at the 2012 Spanish GP, their first since Brazil in 2004. Bottas said: "I think with this amount of testing we are as prepared for Melbourne (the season-opening race on March 16) as we can be."

Interestingly, Williams, is now powered by Mercedes.

Mercedes will be vital to Williams' rebirth in 2014 and the indications over (northern) winter testing were promising. In Bahrain the most laps were completed by Mercedes-powered teams. Williams with 421 laps, Force India 388 and the factory Mercedes team of Hamilton and Rosberg  350.

Of the 12 test days, four in Jerez and eight in Bahrain over two spells, Mercedes-backed cars topped the times on 11 of them.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

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