Interview with Williams’ Mark Gillan
Victory in Barcelona marked, not only Pastor Maldonado’s maiden win in Formula 1 and the first for Williams since 2004, but the first time the team had triumphed under the technical leadership of Mark Gillan. The Englishman, Chief Operations Engineer for the Grove-based outfit, shares his feelings after a highly dramatic weekend.
Mark, how much satisfaction do you derive from Pastor Maldonado’s victory in the Spanish Grand Prix?
This is a massive result for Williams and of course it is incredibly satisfying, especially given the tribulations of the 2011 season. However, this business is all about continuous improvement and it is important that we continue to deliver.
How would you describe Pastor's personal performance in qualifying and the race?
Simply stunning - a master class from start to finish. He was strong all weekend, winning the race from pole despite a strong challenge from Alonso. One can't ask any more from a driver.
Going into the race weekend, were you confident that the FW34 was a race-winning package?
We were confident that the FW34 was an improved package but of course you never know what upgrades other teams have made for their European upgrade packages.
Pastor did 25 laps on his final set of tires. How critical was tire wear?
Managing tire degradation was the key to the race, so a long final stint was a calculated strategy decision but we were reasonably confident - based on our Friday data - that this stint length was possible.
Bruno Senna struggled for pace relative to Pastor. Did he have any particular technical issues?
No, there were no technical issues with the car.
After the race a fire broke out in the Williams F1 garage. First, is everyone okay? Second, do you know what caused it? Third, what was the extent of the damage?
I would like to reiterate our thanks to everyone in the paddock who helped the Williams team to control the fire. There were a number of people who attended the circuit medical centre, mostly as the result of smoke inhalation. One team member remains in hospital having suffered burns, but he is in a stable condition and in good spirits and has returned to England today for further medical care.
Investigations into the actual cause of the fire are ongoing and are being performed in collaboration with the local authorities and the FIA. The extent of the damage is still being accessed and will not become fully clear until both the cars and equipment have returned to the factory. What is clear is that our garage IT equipment and infrastructure have been badly damaged.
Monaco comes next. What is the chance Williams F1 can score its first win in the Principality since 2003?
On the back of a win we go to Monaco with high hopes, but there is a prodigious amount of work to be done prior to the event to recover from the fire.
Interview provided by the Williams F1 press office