Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that I made the trek to Birmingham on Sunday to visit the NEC. I say trek, it’s more of a pilgrimage for motorsport fans, as the worlds of F1, BTCC and almost every other form of motorsport you can conjure up, collide for Autosport International.
It was my first visit to the event and being an F1 fanatic, the F1 presentations were of keen interest. Williams are celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2017 and, as such, were an integral part of the overall show.
Seeing the FW38, listening to Claire Williams and watching Rob Smedley eat lunch was fantastic, but I can’t help but feel that something was missing.
After the cars had been packed away and the stars had headed home, Williams decided to drop the driver market story that everyone was waiting for. On Monday, Valtteri Bottas was confirmed as a Mercedes driver and Felipe Massa identified as his replacement.
Why then, was this news not unveiled during a weekend which, let’s face it, was all about Williams?
Obviously, Mercedes could well have played a pivotal role. They might have vetoed a suggestion for Williams to announce Massa’s return during the weekend, given that it would all but confirm Bottas’ Mercedes contract. However, I doubt Stuttgart could have that kind of influence on what would be Williams business.
Autosport was buzzing, even on Sunday afternoon when exhibitors would have been winding down after a busy weekend. But think of how elevated the excitement would have been had a huge driver market story been broken by Claire Williams on the Autosport stage.
It would have been great for Williams, their hosts and their fans, (most of which would have been in attendance). Instead, they opted to release the news on Monday afternoon, when everyone was busily going about their day jobs and had Clarie Williams give what was clearly heavily veiled answers to Henry Hope-Frost on Sunday.
It’s certainly a puzzler. If anyone has any idea as to why we were made to wait for the news, please let me know.