Interview with Williams’ Sam Michael Williams’ disappointing start the 2011 season continued in Istanbul, with Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado still unable to score points. Team Technical Director Sam Michael digests the Turkish race before looking on to Spain.
How would you sum up the performance of the FW33 at Istanbul Park?
I think our performance in Istanbul was better than at previous races, particularly in qualifying. However, we are in that area of the midfield where a couple of tenths can make a big difference to finishing position, so we need to keep pushing to improve even further.
There were several new parts on the car. What were they and what impact did they have on performance?
Although we had some new parts, we only raced the new front wing and rear brake ducts. We had some separation issues with the new rear wing, so we decided not to race it. We are investigating that now and plan to test it again in Barcelona.
There were 82 pit-stops in the race – a new record. Was tire wear worse than you expected?
The degradation of the tires was higher than we have seen previously and it was definitely worse than we expected to see in Turkey.
You opted for three pit-stops with both drivers in the race. Why was that?
We thought this strategy would work out faster than doing the extra stop required for a four-stop strategy. However, we are harder on our rear tires than some of the other teams, so in hindsight we may have been better to follow the likes of Renault and gone with a four-stop strategy.
Rubens and Pastor were 12 kilometers per hour (7.5 miles per hour) slower than the fastest car through the speed trap. Was there a reason for the car’s relative lack of straight-line speed? The new rear wing we had developed dramatically improved our straight-line speed, so we are aiming to get it on the car for the next event. Barcelona comes next. What are your hopes for the Spanish Grand Prix?
We will have a new diffuser to test in Barcelona, which should give us a decent boost in performance.
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