Russell: Initial Williams success with Mercedes masked current problems

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George Russell believes Williams current problems were still around when they were enjoying success at the start of the hybrid era.

Having switched to Mercedes power at just the right time to coincide with the new engines, the Grove-based outfit spent three years battling Ferrari and Red Bull, beating one and then the other in consecutive years.

Then came a steady slide, first falling behind Force India in the midfield and eventually plummeting the back of the grid where they have sat the past two years.

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In that time, Williams has lost several notable members including Rob Smedley and Paddy Lowe but Russell thinks the core issues now being resolved date back further.

“I think having this big reset has been beneficial for things back at the factory to get things right that perhaps weren’t correct,” he said via RaceFans.

“The team definitely had a very fast car back in ’14, ’15, ’16, but there were definitely some issues then that were probably under the radar because the car was so quick and the engine was very strong.

“So it sort of all comes at once and you start looking at the details more now, when you have a situation like this.”

In those early hybrid years, Williams was known for a car which would have great top speed but fall back in the corners yet that still allowed them to be competitive, even upto 2017 when Lance Stroll finished third in Baku.

It was when Lowe tried to alter that design approach, however, that their slide really exaggerated and now it is pretty clear the Grove-based squad is hanging on until the new rules in 2021 to try and make some progress back up the grid.