Q&A with Sam Michael from Williams Director Sam Michael is pleased with Williams' progress following Sunday's British Grand Prix, which saw the squad from Grove pick up its first double points finish of the season. The fifth and tenth placed results of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hülkenberg also allow Sir Frank's team to move to within 16 points of Force India and sixth spot in the Constructors' Championship.
The team introduced a blown diffuser at the British Grand Prix. What performance benefits did it bring and did you have any reliability issues with it?
Using the exhaust to blow the diffuser improves downforce during on-throttle conditions. Besides some minor work on heat shielding, we had no reliability issues with it.
The FW32 also featured some other upgrades, such as a new rear wing. How did they perform?
All the other parts worked as expected and improved the downforce of the car.
The drivers followed different tire strategies in the race, with Nico staying on the Option tire until Lap 27. In what state were his tires at the end of the stint?
Nico's tires were fine. He could perhaps have stayed out even longer, but his lap times were starting to level off. Combined with the debris on the Hangar Straight threatening the release of the Safety Car, we decided to pit – it was the correct decision because the Safety Car was released just one lap later.
Hülkenberg goes wheel-to-wheel with Vitaly Petrov's Renault into Brooklands. What was your feeling on the new track layout at Silverstone? What it more or less of an engineering challenge than the old configuration?
The new layout was very bumpy. That improved as rubber was laid during the race, but it's something that needs to be addressed for 2011. On a positive note, I was impressed by how the new layout seemed to promote overtaking during the race.
Rubens had another good weekend, coming home fifth. How much is the team benefiting from his speed and experience?
Rubens is doing a great job driving our development program as well as delivering strong qualifying performances and race results. We are very satisfied with his contribution to the team as a whole and specifically with the role he is playing when it comes to which direction we take with the car.
Lap 26 of the British Grand Prix marked the halfway point of the 2010 season. Can you sum up the team's first half performance?
We aren't happy with our first half performance, it hasn't been good enough. We're playing development catch-up with the whole car package; that work does seem to be paying off now, but there's still a lot more work to do.
The German Grand Prix is next on the calendar. How do you expect the FW32 to perform at Hockenheim?
Based on the results we've achieved at recent races where the tracks have all been fairly disparate, Hockenheim should go well.