Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer, Williams F1 Team

03 September 2012

The Belgian Grand Prix turned into a frustrating race for the Williams F1 Team. After demonstrating impressive one-lap pace around Spa-Francorchamps in qualifying, the team came away from the weekend without scoring points. Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan gives us his thoughts.

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer:
Q: How would you sum up the competitiveness of the Williams-Renault FW34 at Spa-Francorchamps?

MG: Our race pace on Sunday was not as good as we would have liked and we need to investigate this a bit further, but Pastor’s qualifying was excellent. Unfortunately Bruno’s qualifying was hampered by a spin and a subsequent aerodynamic loss on the next run as a result of a damaged front wing.

Q: How did the wet weather on Friday compromise the team’s preparations for the dry race?
MG: With both Friday sessions being fully wet we effectively had to squeeze three sessions work into one which made for a very busy one hour period during FP3. However it was the same for everyone and we were pleased with what we achieved in preparing the cars for both the qualifying and race.

Q: Given that Pastor was 11th fastest in FP3, were you surprised by his 3rd fastest time in qualifying?
MG: We were very pleased with Pastor’s qualifying and he drove exceptionally well, pushing the car to the limit.

Q: Pastor jumped the start. Was there a technical glitch that resulted in him moving before the lights went out?
MG: Pastor jumped the start as his fingers slipped from the clutch paddle by mistake.

Q: A puncture forced Bruno to pit for new tyres five laps from the flag. Have you discovered the cause of the puncture?
MG: This was a very good call by his engineering team who noticed the tyre deflation very quickly in the telemetry data and we were able to get Bruno back to the pits without further damaging the car for a change to new tyres. The rear right tyre had a number of cuts on it, which was likely to have been the result of earlier contact.

Q: Bruno set the fastest lap of the race. What positives can be taken from his race?
MG: The weekend promised a lot so to come away with no points is disappointing. I am proud of the effort that the whole team has put in over this difficult weekend and whilst we ultimately didn’t score points we have learnt a lot and should therefore be stronger in Monza as a result of this.

Q: The Italian Grand Prix comes next. What can we expect from the FW34 there?
MG: We are aiming to get both cars home in the points and provided we have a trouble free weekend there are no reasons why this cannot be achieved.