UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX REVIEW
20 November 2012
For the second consecutive race, both Williams Renault FW34s finished in the points in the United States Grand Prix. Pastor Maldonado came home ninth and Bruno Senna tenth after driving tenacious races at the Circuit of the Americas. Mark Gillan, the team’s Chief Operations Engineer, sums up the team’s race weekend.
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer:
Q: What sort of technical challenge did the Circuit of the Americas provide?
MG: The track layout was fantastic and a really good technical challenge for the drivers and teams. With very low grip levels on the Friday the track evolution played a major part in defining how we approached the weekend and tyre warm-up and thermal management were key.
Q: How would you sum up the performance of the FW34 at COTA?
MG: We struggled a bit on Friday but with some detailed data analysis and resultant set-up changes we managed to get the car performance to a good level and both drivers were happy in the race that they had strong, consistently quick cars.
Q: During practice the drivers complained about the slippery track surface; how much did grip levels improve over the weekend?
MG: The grip levels in FP1 were very, very low but the track did evolve quite quickly.
Q: Pirelli brought their hard and medium compounds to the race. Was that choice too conservative and did it provide you with any tyre warm-up issues?
MG: It’s difficult coming to a brand new track but the tyres were on the conservative side, albeit obviously the same for everyone.
Q: Pastor started from ninth on the grid, and Bruno from tenth. Were your pre-race fears about the dirty side of the grid justified?
MG: Yes there was a reasonable difference between the two sides of the grid but to be honest we didn’t have great starts from either car, which is disappointing as our starts this season have generally been good.
Q: The drivers ended the race less than one second apart and they set near-identical fastest laps. How would you sum up their performances?
MG: I was very happy with both drivers performance throughout the whole weekend and their feedback has been very insightful.
Q: The season finale in Brazil comes next. How do you expect the FW34 to perform around the bumpy Interlagos circuit?
MG: From a personal perspective Interlagos is my favourite track of the season and usually has eventful hard fought racing in sometimes difficult changing weather conditions. The long-range forecast for the weekend is very mixed, with large temperature deltas and heavy rain predicted. We expect to be strong in Brazil and really want to finish on a high note on what has been a really eventful season for Williams.