It has been 15 years since Williams last won in Monaco, with Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003 after teammate Ralf Schumacher started from pole position, but scoring even a point would be something this weekend.
Once a dominant team of champions, with nine constructors’ crowns and 114 grand prix wins, Williams return to the principality as tail-enders — last overall and with just four points from five races.
While that is better than 2013, when Williams failed to score in the opening nine races and ended the campaign with a mere five points, the slump has still been a shock to the system and there seems to be no quick fix.
At Spain’s Circuit de Catalunya the weekend before last, Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin was last of those still running at the chequered flag while Canadian team mate Lance Stroll was 11th of 14.
Sirotkin has yet to open his account while all four points to date were produced by Stroll in one race — in Azerbaijan last month.
Processional Monaco offers little — for the team that took Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve to titles — to get too excited about.
“I think what we’ve seen is that the issues we have are better and worse at different circuits,” said technical head Paddy Lowe after the race in Barcelona, a track he described as particularly unforgiving.
“Monaco will be another thing altogether. I’m not going to predict where that lands, we’ll have to see.”
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Williams clambered back to finish third overall in 2014 and 2015, impressive for a privately-owned family team operating on a far smaller budget than the manufacturers, and have been fifth for the past two years.
But they have plenty to work on before they can start climbing back up the table again, with the Mercedes-powered car unbalanced and hard to handle.
The lack of performance, despite having the best engines available, is also likely to have a commercial impact. Title sponsors Martini have already announced they are off at the end of the year.
“We all carry responsibility. The car isn’t good enough, it’s not what it should be,” said Lowe in Barcelona. “There are some issues with it, which fortunately we think we understand and we’re very busy doing a lot of work to fix those issues.
“We’re not writing off this season,” he added.
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