SILVERSTONE, June 28th, 2013 (F1plus/G.Keilloh).- While Williams’ results this season have been meagre, few modern F1 teams rival the Grove outfit on popularity. A major part of this is the team’s heritage: 16 world championships, 114 wins, and as of this weekend 600 Grands Prix – a remarkable achievement by anyone’s standards, and one particularly welcome in an age wherein team names come and go in F1 with restless regularity.
The current Williams drivers paid homage to their team’s achievement. Pastor Maldonado, in response to a question from F1Plus on the importance of the milestone and the team’s heritage, commented: “t’s very special for me and very special for the team. Not all teams achieve 600 GPs in Formula One.
“Feeling part of this big history of the team…it’s a good record, 144 race victories, it’s a wonderful record to get to 600 races as well, so I’m feeling so happy to be part of this great moment for the team, and hopefully we can get some points this weekend.”
His team mate Valtteri Bottas said in a similar vein: ‘yeah you feel it (the team’s history), you see all the pictures the team has here and in the garage of all the Williams world champion drivers, there’s been a quite a lot of build up for it (the 600th GP) and you really feel that you’re part of the team and all the history, it’s great’.
Former Williams drivers Jenson Button and Mark Webber also took time out to pay their respects to the team.
Button commented: “Frank (Williams) and Patrick (Head) are both legends. They gave me the opportunity to race in Formula One. I’ve got great memories with them and with the whole team. It’s an amazing achievement, it’s not a manufacturer, it’s a true racing team and that’s what I love about it, how difficult it was for them to find the money in the first place, to go racing, but with belief and determination, he’s achieved or the team has achieved so much in their career.
“600 Grands Prix, wow, it really is phenomenal. Fair play and hopefully they will be here for many, many more years.”
Webber concurred: “I think it’s an incredible achievement, under the sensational beacon that Frank has been. Obviously the adversity he has personally been through to still be in the factory week in week out are pretty much known.”
Meantime, both Williams drivers are expecting a more competitive weekend in Silverstone than previously in 2013. Maldonado believes that the Silverstone track will suit the FW35, and notes that the team has upgrades for this event: “we will try to improve our performance, we have some new parts in the car as well. Hopefully in this kind of track with high-speed corners it should be a bit better for.
“Maybe we can get more close to the top ten, hopefully we’re really looking forward to being in the top ten on Sunday”. Bottas said that the aim for the team was ‘to hopefully make a step compared with the others’.