Williams has the qualities it needs to turn around its disappointing start to the year, believes shareholder Toto Wolff, once it has found the answers as to why its promising preseason form has not delivered results so far.
The team has experienced its worst-ever start to a Formula 1 season, and the team is currently evaluating what changes it has to make to improve the situation. Technical director Sam Michael said that an overhaul of its structure was now essential, and that he would be open to changing his own role if that was deemed the best thing to do.
Wolff, who flew into the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend to get a better understanding of the situation at the team, said he was confident the outfit would respond in the right way to the difficulties it was facing.
"Our ingredients seem right, but somehow it doesn't seem to translate into performance, " said Wolff. "Whether it is communication or something else I don't know yet, and if someone would know then our performance would be better. But I am optimistic that we will get back to the performance that the team deserves to have. I can see in the faces that everyone is working hard.
"It is all about timing. We looked good in testing, and we were not being aggressive with the fuel loads as we were rather on the conservative side. I am normally pessimistic, but in that case I was quite optimistic that the performance was better than last year. However, other teams seem to have made major steps from testing to the first race, and we seem to have not done these steps – and on the [race] weekends we don't seem to get a grip on it."
Williams has undergone major off-track changes this year, with a flotation having gone through over the winter and co-founder Patrick Head preparing to step down from his involvement with the team. Wolff said he was not sure if Head's different involvement had been a factor in the early season struggles.
"I don't know whether it is linked to Patrick. But definitely Patrick's history speaks for itself, I have no doubt about that. However, at a certain stage, a team has to make a step from the founding generation to new generations. We have that new generation, with young guys compared to the founders. But there is no excuse that Patrick is not involved himself like before. It is up to our generation to make the team successful again and come back to its history."
Although Wolff is a 16 percent shareholder in the team, he is a non-executive director of the company so will not be directly involved in any decisions about future changes. However, he is ready to provide his input over the next weeks.
"I am very proud to be the second largest shareholder in the team after Frank [Williams] and very motivated to get performance back into the team," he said. "I want to be successful with the company like all the other companies I have been involved with. I think everybody is trying to do the maximum they can at the moment.
"But it is not the right time to talk about personnel. We should be motivated and stand behind them. I am here to be with the team, to support them, not to present a threat."