Q&A With Williams F1 Technical Director, Sam Michael

Williams F1 had a points-scoring weekend in Japan. Unfortunately Nico Hulkenberg was taken out on the first lap leaving Rubens Barrichello to bring home the points. If I’m honest, I was really expecting a great weekend for the team. They looked terrific all weekend long but the race seemed to elude them for myriad reasons least of which was a vibration Barrichello was experiencing.

The team have released a Q&A with Technical Director Sam Michael, and here it is in its entirety:

Q: You had an upgrade package on the FW32 at Suzuka. Did the new parts perform as you expected?
SM: We ran new front and rear brake ducts on the FW32s in Suzuka. These items were the last of our upgrade components that we will deliver this season. The new parts worked well so we ran them on both cars for the race.

Q: How did the wash-out on Saturday affect the team’s preparations for qualifying and the race?
SM: Not having the usual time available to us in third practice reduced the amount of time we had running with lower fuel loads to prepare for qualifying. That would have been the same for the other teams as well, however.

Q: The car was very competitive in qualifying, with both cars making it through to Q3, but Rubens wasn’t happy with the performance of his car in the race. What issues did he have?
SM: Rubens reported that the car was bouncing during the race; he also experienced a vibration problem as well. We are working our way through all of the data now to determine the cause and to ensure that it does not happen again.

Q: Nico made a poor start and was then hit by another car on the approach to Turn One. Did he have any technical issues leaving the grid?
SM: Unfortunately, Nico released the clutch too early at the start. He realised in time so as to avoid a jump start, but he obviously lost start performance trying to recover.

Q: Rubens’ ninth place moves AT&T Williams to within two points of Force India in the Constructors’ Championship. How important is that sixth place to the team and what developments are in the pipeline for the remaining three races?
SM: It’s always important to finish as high as possible in the Constructors’ Championship because it determines the income you receive from FOM for the following season. Sixth position is therefore what we are aiming to achieve in the final rounds. We have no further developments planned for the FW32 for the remainder of the season.

Q: The inaugural Korean Grand Prix comes next. How have you prepared for the race at Yeongam?
SM: We have done a simple lap time simulation based on a map of the circuit. This allows us to determine start wing levels and gear ratios.

Q: Finally, the team will be at Kemble Airfield on Wednesday of this week. What work will be carried out there?
SM: We will be doing straightline aero running at Kemble in order to test some components planned for 2011.

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