Williams technical director Sam Michael was put in a "difficult situation" at the Grove-based outfit because he did not have the full support structure around him to use the best of his talents, according to Mark Webber, who worked closely with his fellow Australian during his two-year stint at the team. Webber says he is surprised that Michael has decided to leave the squad.
"Working with Sam, he was clearly a guy who did shoulder a lot of the responsibility," explained Webber in Turkey on Thursday. "He is incredibly passionate, he has a big desire to do the job and he shouldered a lot of the big decisions about the car going forward.
"I think in certain areas, he might have been able to have some more substance around him, and people to support him in that role. That might have been something which could have helped him get more out of himself. But he is a talented guy for sure. It is just he was in a difficult situation at Williams and it was difficult to see the wood from the trees for all of them there.
"All of a sudden one year goes, two years go, three years go and then all of a sudden it happens very quickly, doesn't it? I think for sure it's a tough time for him."
Webber also says he did not expect such a swift staffing change at Williams on the back of its early season troubles.
"Yeah, I was a bit surprised about how much went on, in terms of the changes they have made. They are quite big changes there. It is a team that sets the bar very high and clearly they have openly admitted that they have been disappointed with their performance in the last few years. I think, as we know, in any team it is impossible to put it all on one guy's shoulders.
"There have been some key position changes and time will tell if that will be beneficial to them. There are key regulation changes again in the pipeline for F1, so as an independent, yet still very powerful team under Frank Williams, there will be new challenges ahead to get on top of that stuff technically."
He added: "There is not a person in the pit lane who likes to see Williams where they are at the moment. We all know what they have done and seen what Nigel [Mansell] and those guys used to do in those Williams-Renaults, and it is fraction of its former self. Hopefully, Williams will come back to it at least halfway."