CANADIAN GRAND PRIX REVIEW
13 June 2012
The Canadian Grand Prix promised much for the Williams F1 Team, but Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna started the race out of position and came home in 13th and 17th respectively. Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan talks us through the team’s performance this weekend.
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer:
Q: Due to a couple of accidents and a grid penalty for Pastor, we never got to see the true pace of the Williams-Renault FW34 in Montreal. What was the car capable of around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
MG: We had decent high fuel long-run pace on Friday and Pastor was pretty quick in Saturday’s morning session on lower fuel too, so we were reasonably confident going into qualifying. Both drivers had accidents that damaged their gearboxes and as Pastor’s was his race box in qualifying he took a five place grid penalty going into the race. Both drivers pushed hard on their one-stop strategies, but we were ultimately not as competitive as we have been recently, which made progress through the pack not as easy as we would have hoped for. Nevertheless, we will spend a great deal of effort dissecting the data from the weekend, especially the effect that the large changes in track temperature and track evolution had on the tyre performance, and how best in future to react accordingly.
Q: How did the performance upgrades that you took to the race perform?
MG: The Montreal aero upgrades performed as we had expected and were run on both cars.
Q: How much was Bruno’s weekend compromised by his accident during Friday practice?
MG: Both of Bruno’s Friday sessions had issues, with the first session being compromised by not being able to use his DRS system and in the second session he had an accident which damaged three corners on the car, the front and rear wings and the gearbox. The mechanics worked very hard on Friday evening to rebuild the car and we had enough spares to ensure that his car remained to the latest specification and was ready for the beginning of the Saturday morning session.
Q: It was a tight call between one and two pitstops during the race. In hindsight, which was the best strategy?
MG: Given our start positions we were happy with the one-stop strategy but need to look at how we managed the tyres during the stints to see if we could have been quicker.
Q: Montreal is notoriously hard on brakes. Did you have any brake wear issues on either car?
MG: Montreal is very tough on brakes but our brake material and cooling solutions worked well, so the brakes were not a major issue during the race.
Q: The European Grand Prix comes next. What are the main challenges of the Valencia street circuit?
MG: In a similar manner to Montreal the Valencia circuit layout places a lot of stress on the braking system. Also with the potential for high ambient temperatures the car’s cooling system is given a stern test.