Interview with Williams' Sam Michael
Williams duo Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado left Silverstone empty handed on Sunday afternoon, with both drivers enduring difficult races at the iconic British venue. Technical Director Sam Michael discusses the weekend, before looking ahead to the German Grand Prix which takes in just under a fortnight’s time.
The team brought lots of upgrades to the British Grand Prix. How did they perform?
All the new parts we brought to Silverstone - the exhaust, diffuser, front wing and suspension - all performed as expected, so we ran them on both cars for qualifying and the race.
Pastor out-qualified Rubens for the fourth time in the last five races. How much has he improved during the course of 2011?
Pastor is doing a really solid job. As a rookie, he is particularly strong on the circuits he has driven on before.
All the signs are showing that he should really excel in 2012 once he knows all the circuits we visit and so can turn up to each race and just concentrate on driving fast.
Rain played a part in qualifying and the race. How difficult did that make tire choice?
Although we had changeable conditions, our tires choices were correct every time. When you have conditions like that you need to be able to react and make decisions quickly, sometimes with very limited information.
How did the FW33s perform on the intermediate tire at the start of the race?
Neither car performed well on the intermediate tires. We had a new suspension design on the car so with the limited running we’d had, we may have tuned it too far towards a dry set-up. We’ll review this for the German Grand Prix.
You split race strategies, Rubens doing a two-stop race and Pastor a three-stop. Why was that?
We split them to try and make sure we were in a position to take advantage if something unusual happened later in the race.
We were able to do this as the tire degradation was lower than expected, this was due to the easier time we had on the Option tire during the first stint on a damp track surface.
The off-throttle diffuser regulations were a constant source of discussion at Silverstone. What's the latest you can tell us?
Our understanding is that we will revert to the Valencia regulations if all teams sign the document, otherwise we will stay with the Silverstone regulations.
The German Grand Prix comes next. How do you expect the FW33 to perform at the Nürburgring?
As always, we’ll be trying to get a top ten finish for both our cars.