AT&T Williams drivers Pastor Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello finished in 11th and 12th places in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix. The high-speed dash around Monza could have delivered more for the team, had the drivers not been delayed by a first corner pile-up. Here’s Technical Director Sam Michael’s take on the weekend.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Q: Pastor was the first AT&T Williams driver home in Monza, in 11th place. How do you sum up the team’s race?
SM: We were competitive in the first stint but unfortunately didn’t have the pace to maintain that after the pitstops.
Q: With two DRS zones at Monza, there was a lot of speculation about wing levels prior to the race. With hindsight, what was the best solution?
SM: In Monza, the rear wing curve is very flat. This means that there is not as much difference in laptime between the high and low levels of rear wing. Although the DRS is an important tool for racing, the most important factor this weekend appeared to be having the optimum engine revs for the race, even if that meant compromising some overtaking capability.
Q: The competitiveness of the FW33 improved from Friday to Saturday. What set-up changes did you make on Friday night?
SM: We had a lot of tyre blistering on Friday so we tuned the set-up to minimise that.
Q: Pastor was mystified by his accident at the start of qualifying. Can you explain what happened?
SM: He was obviously pushing and on quite a good lap, which I was happy about because it meant having the delay with the KERS issue didn’t seem to faze him. However, on the exit of Parabolica the rear wheels spun too quickly for him to react. Initially we thought it was due to him pressing the DRS too early, but it actually happened after that.
Q: Both drivers made excellent getaways at the start of the race. How satisfying was that, and are starts an area that the team has worked on in recent weeks?
SM: We have concentrated on starts a lot recently, particularly on the dyno as well as during practice sessions at the last few races.
Q: Rubens’ race was ruined at Turn 1. How was his pace, once you’d replaced his front wing?
SM: Overall his pace was good, but on the medium compound tyre at the beginning of the race we lost a lot of time.
Q: Singapore comes next. What updates is the team taking to the Far East and what are your hopes for F1’s only night race?
SM: We have some upgrades for the diffuser and front wing, going back to high downforce levels. Our target as always is to score some more points.