The Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit didn’t go well for Williams. After Alex Albon seriously damaged his vehicle during the first free practice session, his teammate Logan Sargeant had to give him his car due to a lack of a replacement and was only allowed to watch. Albon ultimately crossed the finish line in 11th place. In the current overall table he is in 13th place, Sargeant follows in 19th place. Neither has any points. The once dazzling racing team is in crisis mode – and team boss James Vowles is still trying to finally end the dry spell.

Vowles and his technical director Pat Fry leave no stone unturned. New processes in the development of the vehicles are also on the agenda. A report from “The Race” has now revealed what’s apparently wrong at Williams – and explains how the team previously relied on an Excel spreadsheet when it came to managing the vehicle parts.

Shortly after taking over his position, Vowles encountered his new team’s digital eyesore. Williams had recorded the tens of thousands of parts needed to build a car in a simple table. “The Excel list was a joke. Impossible to navigate and impossible to update,” he revealed.

“When you start tracking hundreds or thousands of components moving through the company, an Excel spreadsheet is useless. You need to know where each of these independent components is, how long it takes to complete, how long it takes to go for inspection. If there were any problems during the inspections, it has to be returned. And as soon as you start to reach this level of complexity, as is the case with modern Formula 1, it tips over “The Excel spreadsheet falls over and people fall over. And that’s exactly where we are now,” explains Vowles to “The Race.”

In retrospect, this type of rudimentary warehouse logistics explains how strange breakdowns could occur at Williams in the past. For example, a few years ago the team missed pre-season testing and didn’t have the car ready. Poor bookkeeping meant that we simply had to look for parts for too long – if they were available at all, says Vowles.

It remains to be seen whether the introduction of new warehouse logistics and process optimization will allow Williams to return to its former glory. It is unlikely that Vowles and Fry will be able to come to terms with the mistakes of the past few years in the shortest possible time, while the World Cup is underway and people are flying around the world every week. The fact that the team boss speaks so openly about the racing team’s problems suggests that there is actually a lot going on behind the scenes.