Russian billionaire accuses Williams of ‘deceiving’ him

Williams is under pressure after it only managed to score one point so far this season, with Logan Sargeant accused of underperforming.

Williams, the once-dominant Formula 1 team, is grappling with a dire need for substantial upgrades, according to the team’s new boss, James Vowles, and Russian billionaire Boris Rotenberg. 

Rotenberg, through his SMP Racing program, financially supported Sergey Sirotkin’s single season with Williams in 2018. 

However, Rotenberg claims that the team failed to fulfil their agreement to develop the car in collaboration with him, leaving Williams in a stagnant state.

“We signed an agreement with Claire Williams,” Rotenberg stated, referring to the former team boss. 

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“We had an agreement that with our money they would develop the car and we would start doing something together. But, of course, we were deceived.

“None of this happened, and the car did not go anywhere. And Sergey, with his technical education and knowledge, was simply used to set up the car.”

Since finishing last in the constructors’ championship in 2018, Williams has struggled to make progress and remains at the back of the grid five years on. 

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, the team announced that Alex Albon would be driving the upgraded car, while rookie Logan Sargeant will have the previous version.

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“We’ve been falling away a little bit from the fight with the midfield in the last few races,” Albon commented. 

“So hopefully, this can get us back into that fighting area.” 

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However, team boss James Vowles, renowned for his successful stint at Mercedes, acknowledges the tremendous work required to close the gap.

“There are some elements at Williams that are 20 years out of date,” Vowles admitted, highlighting the lack of investment in certain areas over the past two decades until the arrival of new owners. 

“Some of the facilities were up-to-date in 2000.”