A fan of Badger and lifelong Williams fan, Gary Marshall visited the Williams HQ recently – here’s his report from the day including an insight into the 2011 livery… Enjoy his guest article for BadgerGP here:
April 2010 saw AT&T Williams launch a new website. Included in the upgraded site was a dedicated fans community with exclusive competitions, polls and a forum for fans to discuss all things Williams and F1 in general, as a lifelong Williams fan this was a great opportunity to engage with other like minded people around the world.
Through the forum the team extended an invitation to visit the conference centre and museum at the factory that took place last Friday (21st January)
After meeting at the pub across the road from the factory gates we arrived at the conference centre where the sight of Rubens FW32 standing proudly in the reception area gave us a taste of what was to follow. After being show through to the Alan Jones suite we were greeted by Sir Frank Williams (something we only learned about an hour before the visit!) Sir Frank gave a brief speech on the history of the team, his accident and the recent struggles to get the team back to the business end of the grid. The one thing that stuck all of us was his passion when he talking about his team and that he was more than happy to meet with us and answer our questions.
After an unbelievable half hour or so with Sir Frank, we were shown through to a small theatre where we watched a short film on the history of the team and its achievements. Behind the screen was the museum which appeared at the end of the film as the screen parted. We walk through to the first section ‘The Cosworth years’ to start the tour, our guide was a video/audio guide that explained in detail the cars from that era. As one section of the tour finished, the lights in the next section came on to usher us through all the sections before arriving in the technology room where we could look and touch various parts of the cars including a rear wing. The highlight of the technology room for me was the wind tunnel model from the ‘walrus tusk’ car complete with flow paint from the tests!
Before long we were asked to go back down to the Alan Jones suite where Adam Parr was waiting for us for our second Q & A of the day. We couldn’t have been prepared for some of his answers! He began by telling us that he’d just come back from having lunch the Bernie Ecclestone, during this time team released the news about the flotation on the stock market. Adam said that he got a text message from an unnamed person saying “put me down for x million shares”! He also talked in depth about Patrick Heads roll in the development of the regulations for the 2013 cars along with Rory Byrne of Ferrari. Not only will the KERS power be doubled but the cars must the ability to drive in/out/through the pits only using electric power, this prompted me to ask how would the driver restart the engine? Adam stated that from 2013 all cars would have built in starter motors.
The one question we asked everyone on the day was “can we take a look at the FW33” to which the answer was always NO! But Adam did dangle a carrot for us about the new livery, he said “Its retro” and “you’ll love it”
I must end by saying a big thank you to Claire Williams and Sophie Eden from the team who organized it all for us.