Williams Grand Prix: A New Beginning?

Felipe Massa takes a corner in the final pre-season session Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit. The season begins in less than two weeks in Australia. [Photo by Getty Images]

SAKIR, Bahrain- Although the last testing day prior to the start of the 2014 formula one world championship has completed, the season begins in two weeks’ time in Melbourne, Australia, and considering they have been at the first testing session, one team that has not launched their car officially is Williams Grand Prix.

This squad, based in Grove, England is the last team to be reviewed and outside of Ferrari, have been the second longest running team in formula one history.

The quest for this team’s success began in 1979, when Williams had their first victory at the British Grand Prix with the late Clay Regazzoni driving. Since then, the team have combined to winning many world titles, among them being Alan Jones in 1980, Nigel Mansall , 1992, Damon Hill in 1996, and Jacques Villeneuve a year later in 1997.

Villeneuve’s championship was the last that the team won as the team began its downward spiral of starting out as a major contender to being in the middle of the grid, never winning a world title again in either the individual driver of constructor’s championships.

The team two years ago began the quest for them to start moving back up the ladder by employing French manufacturer Renault as their engine partner in 2012; as well as employing a women to become one of the managers. Claire Williams, daughter of Frank, the founder of the team, took part of the reins of her father’s empire. In addition, the first women, Susie Stoddart, last season was hired as a test driver for the team. Pastor Maldonado, and his oil money was hired as one of the drivers for two years, with Finnish newcomer Vallteri Bottas partnering him a year later.

The team scored their first win in a while in 2012, when Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix, his only win so far in his career.

Things began to go downhill again the following season and Maldonado felt that he could go any further and wanted greener pastures. The Venezuelan decided to leave for Lotus to replace Kimi Raikkonen, who in turn, went to Ferrari. Bottas will stay for 2014. However, his new teammate will be the Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa, who drove for Sauber first, and then spend a good portion of his career at Ferrari with Michael Schumacher, then Fernando Alonso. Stoddart will remain as test driver and even will participate in some of the race weekend practice sessions.

Following the usage of Renault power the last two seasons, Williams has changed once again this time for Mercedes Benz and from the showing of the tests so far, Williams could finally make 2014 one of the chances to possibly move up the grid.

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