Q&A with Williams' Sam Michael The Williams F1 team closed up on Force India in the Constructors' Championship following the Italian Grand Prix last weekend, when Nico Hülkenberg finished a strong seventh and Rubens Barrichello took tenth to increase the team’s tally to 47 points. Here Technical Director, Sam Michael reviews the weekend.
How satisfying was it to get two cars into the points at the Italian Grand Prix?
It was a good result, one which shows that we are making solid progress with the whole car package. The FW32 was competitive among the top runners, as demonstrated by Nico's fastest lap time, which was just 0.4seconds off the quickest.
Both cars had new engines. How much did this help performance along Monza's long straights?
Nico had a new engine, but Rubens had the same one as he used in Spa. It is obviously a significant benefit to have a new engine, and particularly when we’re racing at these power-hungry circuits.
Nico Hulkenberg qualified eighth and finished seventh. Was this his best overall performance of the year?
Well, Nico finished sixth in Budapest, but he was consistently strong throughout the whole weekend in Monza. I would say then that, yes, his overall performance was his best to date.
Mark Webber said after the race that Nico should have received a penalty for straight-lining the chicanes during their battle for sixth place. What conversations were had with the FIA's race director Charlie Whiting about this?
Nico didn't gain any advantage on the occasions when he went through the chicanes. Buemi did exactly the same while running ahead of Rubens but, because he didn't gain an advantage, he wasn't penalized either.
Of the team’s two drivers, Rubens Barrichello had the more difficult weekend. Did he have any specific handling problems?
Rubens’ car was handling similarly to Nico's. Although he didn’t have the same pace as Nico over the weekend, he still scored an important point for the team.
Next we go to Singapore. How do you expect the FW32 to perform there?
We have a large upgrade for the FW32 for Singapore. It will be the last upgrade package we will bring to the car this season and we expect it to be competitive.
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