Williams had to live through the disappointment of its worst-ever season in Formula 1 if it was to fully understand what changes are needed to move it further up the grid. So believes team chairman Adam Parr, who says that although the lackluster showings of 2011 were hard to deal with at the time, they were essential for highlighting the areas where Williams was weak.
Parr said that the year gone showed that the structure Williams had in place before the arrival of Mike Coughlan, Mark Gillan and Jason Somerville was not good enough.
"In reality we've been in the middle ranks for some years now," he told AUTOSPORT. "You don't have to do anything if you're plodding along in the middle in this sort of cotton wool world, and I think what's happened to us is that we have really seen not only that the current level of performance is unacceptable, but also the need to make radical changes.
"It was actually put very nicely by Mark Gillan. Patrick [Head] said to him, 'I wish this season was over,' and Mark said, 'Everything that we're experiencing out there is vital.' If Mark and the other new members of the team had joined at the end of the season, they wouldn't have seen many of the underlying problems. They would have seen the performance, but I think we've all had the opportunity to really get deep into the roots of it."
Parr added that the fact Williams has gained an understanding of its deficiencies gives him reason to feel confident about its potential to recover.
"The good news is that sometimes in life you're not performing, but you don't know why," he said. "We understand precisely where we're weak, where the opportunities are, and what we have to do to get there.
"The next question is, do we have the people and resources in place to make those changes? And the answer is, absolutely. To be honest, we needed some fresh eyes, turning over the rocks, looking at all the nasty stuff under the rocks, and bringing it to the surface, and just getting it out there.
"I've been here for five years and you adapt to the environment you're in and the way you do things, and you accept it. And what we have learned this year is that we can't accept certain things.