Not chasing a Honda deal was Williams' missed opportunity - Chandhok

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Karun Chandhok claims not chasing a Honda engine deal in 2018 was Williams' biggest missed opportunity in recent years.

After the high of finishing third in the constructors' standings in 2014 and 2015, the Grove-based outfit endured a steady decline and has indeed finished bottom of the teams' championship for the last two years.

At the heart of their problems has been increasingly flawed car designs, with the arrival of former Mercedes boss Paddy Lowe in 2017 appearing to exaggerate the issues rather than fix them.

But now the lack of competitiveness has taken a financial toll with Williams triggering a "formal sale process" last month in the search for new investors and/or a potential takeover.

And Chandhok believes that could have been avoided if the team had swept in to partner with Honda after they split with McLaren in 2017.

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“It is interesting how many articles I’ve seen online in recent weeks about various things Williams could have done differently,” the Indian driver told Sky Sports.

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“From not letting Adrian Newey go to the BMW relationship breaking down, things like that. But those are all long gone and there are two critical points in recent times.

“Obviously the alignment with one of the major teams and the other is the Honda deal.”

Of course, at the time, Honda was still seen as a risk after three terrible years with the Woking-based outfit.

But the gamble Red Bull took, first with Toro Rosso in 2018, and now themselves last year has paid off and Chandhok claims Williams could have easily been in the same position.

“I think that when they sit back, and they would probably never say this publicly, but when they talk about what they could have done for me I think the Honda deal is the one that was something they should have chased more actively,” he added.

“Look at how well it has turned out for Red Bull.

“We all thought Honda would come good at some time. You need to work with them, it is a different culture, it didn’t work with McLaren but Red Bull has managed to unlock their potential.

“I know hindsight is 20/20 but you do really wonder if a Williams-Honda combination could have done exactly what they are doing with Red Bull.

“Financially Honda would have invested money into the programme and built that up.”

As it is, the team has stood by their engine partnership with Mercedes, with their current deal set to continue until 2025.