A tough weekend at Sepang ended in retirements for Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado. But AT&T Williams learnt more about its FW33 and the new Pirelli tyres in Malaysia and the team will take that knowledge to Shanghai for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Adam Parr, Chairman:
Q: What is your assessment of the team’s start to the season?
ASP: Like everyone at Williams, I am both surprised and frustrated with our start. In spite of having an ambitious concept for the FW33, the benefit of continuity with our engine, and moving into our second season with Rubens, we have come up short. It is particularly bad in view of our relative strength in pre-season testing and the exceptional amount of work that everyone across Williams has put into this car.
Q: What are you doing to address the situation?
ASP: First, we have to understand where we are strong and where we are weak. We have had some notable areas of success with the FW33 and we can build on these. We also have some promising improvements coming through for Shanghai and Istanbul and we need to see how these perform. We also need to get on top of the reliability issues because these not only affect immediate performance, they also absorb resources that should be focused on improvement.
We will move forward, but that does not alter the fact that we have started too far behind.
Therefore, we will be looking not only at how to address the short-term issues – we will be working together to strengthen the team for 2012 and beyond. Every aspect will be reviewed, nothing is sacred, but we will do this methodically and not in a reactive way.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Q: Can you sum up the performance of the FW33 at Sepang?
SM: Our performance was well below expectations in many areas in Sepang. This is not acceptable for us and we’ll be thoroughly reviewing all aspects of our lack of performance before Shanghai. Ultimately the performance and reliability of the car is down to the engineering group and we’ll respond accordingly.
Q: You had a new front wing on one car. Did it give the desired aerodynamic gain?
SM: The new front wing we ran was an experiment from the aero department to test its different characteristic. This was part of the investigation process in preparation for the new wing we are manufacturing for Istanbul.
Q: Rubens retired from the race with a hydraulics issue. Have you identified the cause of the misfire on Pastor’s car?
SM: Rubens retired with a differential seal leak, caused by excessive slip on the differential during the lap when he had a puncture. Pastor retired with a misfire from the engine. The most likely cause of this was a faulty ignition coil, but Cosworth are still investigating this.
Q: Tyre wear was a major talking point all weekend. How did the hard and soft tyres compare, and what was the degradation like during the race?
SM: The tyre wear in Sepang was not as bad as had been predicted. Degradation did appear worse however, with many teams having to make three stops during the race as a result.
Q: Pirelli tested two development tyres during Friday practice. What were they like and can we expect to see them raced any time soon?
SM: The two sets of tyres we tested on Friday were harder compound tyres and they performed as expected.
Q: With just one week until the Chinese Grand Prix, can we expect to see any new parts on the FW33 in Shanghai?
SM: We have a new exhaust system for Rubens’ car that we will test on Friday. It would have been great to have it on the car earlier, however having a single system will enable us to evaluate the performance and temperatures properly while managing the risk.
Q: What are your targets for China?
SM: We are aiming for a top ten qualifying performance and to get some points on the board in the race.