Silverstone had had a face lift, with a spectacular new pit and paddock area and a new start-finish straight, but the weather was the same as ever. Wind, rain and sun on all three days of the race weekend made car set-up and tyre choice a lottery. AT&T Williams had one FW33 inside the top 10 in qualifying and both cars made it home in the race with Rubens Barrichello in 13th just ahead of Pastor Maldonado in 14th. Here, Technical Director Sam Michael gives his assessment of the weekend.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Q: The team brought lots of upgrades to the British Grand Prix. How did they perform?
SM: All the new parts we brought to Silverstone – the exhaust, diffuser, front wing and suspension – all performed as expected, so we ran them on both cars for qualifying and the race.
Q: Pastor out-qualified Rubens for the fourth time in the last five races. How much has he improved during the course of 2011?
SM: Pastor is doing a really solid job. As a rookie, he is particularly strong on the circuits he has driven on before. All the signs are showing that he should really excel in 2012 once he knows all the circuits we visit and so can turn up to each race and just concentrate on driving fast.
Q: Rain played a part in qualifying and the race. How difficult did that make tyre choice?
SM: Although we had changeable conditions, our tyres choices were correct every time. When you have conditions like that you need to be able to react and make decisions quickly, sometimes with very limited information.
Q: How did the FW33s perform on the intermediate tyre at the start of the race?
SM: Neither car performed well on the intermediate tyres. We had a new suspension design on the car so with the limited running we’d had, we may have tuned it too far towards a dry set-up. We’ll review this for the German Grand Prix.
Q: You split race strategies, Rubens doing a two-stop race and Pastor a three-stop. Why was that?
SM: We split them to try and make sure we were in a position to take advantage if something unusual happened later in the race. We were able to do this as the tyre degradation was lower than expected due to the easier time we had on the option tyre during the first stint on a damp track.
Q: The off-throttle diffuser regulations were a constant source of discussion at Silverstone. What’s the latest you can tell us?
SM: Our understanding is that we will revert to the Valencia regulations if all teams sign the document, otherwise we will stay with the Silverstone regulations.
Q: The German Grand Prix comes next. How do you expect the FW33 to perform at the Nürburgring?
SM: As always, we’ll be trying to get a top ten finish for both our cars.