Double trouble for Williams in Brazil The Brazilian Grand Prix saw, not only the first non-finish of the year for Nico Rosberg, but a double retirement for the Williams team. Chief Operations Engineer Rod Nelson talks of the race in São Paulo as well as the final meeting of the season in Abu Dhabi on 1 November. How competitive was the FW31 at Interlagos?
The FW31 showed particularly good pace in the wet, but was also competitive in the dry race.
Did you have any tire issues in the wet or the dry?
Most drivers had problems with the intermediates; struggling to get the fronts to work in the wet and dry conditions.
Saturday marked the longest qualifying session in F1 history. How tough were the conditions?
Track conditions were very poor with a combination of rivers running across the track and standing water which was causing aqua planning. Nico was fastest in Q1 and Q2, yet he qualified seventh. What caused the drop-off in performance?
We expected to be more competitive in the wet and less so in the dry partly due to the compromises in car set-up that we made prior to qualifying. The FIA's decision to wait until the rain had cleared certainly didn't help us.
Nico suffered his first DNF of the season on Sunday. What caused his retirement and how much warning did you get?
We were aware of a gearbox issue from early on in the race. As there was no easy fix and we weren't aware of any system degradation, we carried on running. Around Nico's pit-stop we saw a serious deterioration in performance so we retired the car to avoid further damage, or a safety issue. Kazuki also retired from the race; please sum up his performance in qualifying and the race.
Kazuki was also very competitive in wet qualifying but, as with Nico, we saw this fade a little as the circuit dried out. In the race, he was in a reasonable position but there was some confusion with Kobayashi moving across him out of the pitlane exit that resulted in an accident.
The new Yas Island circuit in Abu Dhabi comes next. How is the team preparing for this final race of the season?
We have fully mapped the circuit which allows us to run computer models to assess general characteristics, for example brake wear, likely tire performance, pit-stop times, optimum rear wing level etc. This has also allowed us to produce a 3D representation of the circuit which the drivers can use in the simulator to refine their driving and work on optimizing setup before the car even turns a wheel.
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