If you were rating your Monaco Grand Prix performance on a scale of 1 to 10, Williams F1 must surely be closer to 1 than 10. This weekend’s race in the principality may be one to forget as both cars crashed during the race.
Drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello both suffered from a mechanical problem and technical director Sam Michael has revealed what those issues were:
Can you tell us what caused the accidents that put Rubens and Nico out of the race?
Rubens had a rear suspension failure. We have a good idea which part is suspect, but to be completely sure, we need to await the results of materials tests back at the factory. However, it won’t be an issue going forward. Nico had a clutch paddle sensor failure on the grid. He then touched the back of the HRT car in turn 1 and this damaged the front wing mounting pillars. When he entered the tunnel, the front wing eventually failed and he understeered off into the wall.
Were they new components?
The actual parts that failed in the race were not new designs and they have been on the car since the start of the season.
How does this accident damage affect the team’s preparations for the next Grand Prix?
Of course we have a significant amount of workload to replace the damaged parts such as the diffusers and the front wings. However, both chassis were undamaged, which is positive.
Rubens was heading for a solid points finish until his retirement; how competitive was the FW32 in Monaco?
The FW32 was good in Monaco, certainly an improvement on the previous race, but we acknowledge that we have still got work to do to be more competitive.
None of the teams suffered from excessive tyre wear. Do you think Bridgestone was too conservative with the compounds they brought?
All of the Bridgestone tyres are extremely durable, so we didn’t expect wear problems at any point.
Tactically speaking Barrichello had a good start and was running 6th ahead of his old teammate Michael Schumacher. It seemed the Williams FW32 was on pace for a decent points haul.
There was a safety car deployed not long after Barrichello’s crash and this led to some speculation that a loose drain cover may have caused the mechanical failure on his car. I noticed that Adam Cooper said as much on his Twitter account. That would be frustrating…enough to throw your steering wheel on the track so HRT’s Karun Chandhok could run over it.
Hulkenberg fared even worse after clouting the tunnel wall on the first lap. That incident was not steering-wheel-chucking worthy but frustrating nonetheless.
But that’s looking backwards and now the team prepares for Turkey. How does Michael see that race prep and performance working out?
Looking ahead to Turkey, how do you think the FW32 will perform?
I am confident that our relative race pace will be an improvement on Barcelona, but as ever much depends on how the other teams manage to move forward too. But I can be confident that our direction of development is moving the right way.
Will you have any performance upgrades at the race?
Yes, we do have an upgrade plane for Istanbul, but our first priority at the moment is to consolidate the repairs on both race cars in the first place.