Q and A with Sam Michael, Williams Technical Director

It was another two-car finish for AT&T Williams at the Turkish Grand Prix. But high tyre degradation on both cars prevented Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado from finishing in the points. This is how technical director Sam Michael sums up the team’s race weekend.

Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Q: How would you sum up the performance of the FW33 at Istanbul Park?

SM: I think our performance in Istanbul was better than at previous races, particularly in qualifying. However, we are in that area of the midfield where a couple of tenths can make a big difference to finishing position so we need to keep pushing to improve even further.

Q: There were several new parts on the car. What were they, and what impact did they have on performance?
SM: Although we had some new parts, we only raced the new front wing and rear brake ducts. We had some separation issues with the new rear wing so we decided not to race it. We are investigating that now and plan to test it again in Barcelona.

Q: There were 82 pitstops in the race – a new record. Was tyre wear worse than you expected?
SM: The degradation of the tyres was higher than we have seen previously and it was definitely worse than we expected to see in Turkey.

Q: You opted for three pitstops with both drivers in the race. Why was that?
SM: We thought this strategy would work out faster than doing the extra stop required for a four-stop strategy. However, we are harder on our rear tyres than some of the other teams, so in hindsight we may have been better to follow the likes of Renault and gone with a four-stop strategy.

Q: Rubens and Pastor were 12kph slower than the fastest car through the speed trap. Was there a reason for the car’s relative lack of straightline speed?
SM: The new rear wing we had developed dramatically improved our straightline speed so we are aiming to get it on the car for the next event.

Q: Barcelona comes next. It’s a track AT&T Williams tested at over the winter, so what are your hopes for the Spanish Grand Prix?
SM: We will have a new diffuser to test in Barcelona which should give us a decent boost in performance.