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Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 eval: Williams

Feb. 2, 2010 - Valencia, Spain - Williams FW32 detail, Formula One Testing.

Synopsis: Williams' 69 points, its most since 2004, were good for sixth in the championship, edging Force India and easily best of the teams that took part in Cosworth’s return to the sport. A fairly decent year all around, especially from midseason on, highlighted by consistency and reliability.

Points: 69

Highlight: Nico Hulkenberg’s shock pole in Brazil was easily the brightest moment of 2010.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 06: Nico Huelkenberg (centre white) of Germany and Williams celebrates in the paddock with team mates after finishing first during qualifying for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 6, 2010 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Lowlight: A double retirement in Monaco, including Rubens Barrichello’s suspension failure after running over a drain cover. The Brazilian threw his steering wheel out of the car, where it was promptly run over by Karun Chandhok, emblematic of the frustration in the team at that moment. Williams would suffer two more uncompetitive races before turning it around in Valencia.


Apr. 17, 2010 - (L to R): Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams talks with team mate Nico Hulkenberg.
  • Rubens Barrichello, ageless at 62, clearly had the better of his highly-touted teammate in 2010. The Brazilian suffered only two retirements in 2010, and finished in the points 10 times. He only showed flashes of his fragility, while his technical input was widely credited with helping turn around the team’s season. It was enough to earn F1’s most experienced driver another season behind the wheel in 2011.
  • Nico Hulkenberg made his F1 debut after winning the 2009 GP2 championship and great things were expected, but 2010 proved to be more of an education for the youngster. Barrichello clearly had the better of him, he was outscored by his veteran teammate 47-22. A late-season surge that saw him finish in the points in four of his last six races, punctuated by his pole in Brazil, were not enough to save his seat for 2011.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 17: Pastor Maldonado of Venezuala and Williams F1 Team prepares to go out on track during the Young Driver Testing at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 17, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)

A look ahead: Much was accomplished in 2010, and the insatiable Frank Williams and Patrick Head will be wanting more in 2011. A second year with Cosworth, Barrichello’s return and reintroduction of KERS (whether it will be conventional, or Williams’ revolutionary flywheel is yet to be determined) should provide Williams with the opportunity to improve on its 2010 performance. Pastor Maldonado replaces Hulkenberg in the second seat, and his Venezuelan sponsorship will hopefully set off the loss of several team sponsors in 2011. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


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