Exclusive Q&A with Williams' Alexander Wurz 12 Jun 2007
As he lined up on the Montreal grid on Sunday it is fair to say that not even Alexander Wurz himself imagined he could jump 16 places and finish the race on the podium. But the Canadian Grand Prix was far from predictable. A gripping race from start to finish, the thrills and spills served the Williams driver well and he was rewarded with six points and a well-earned trophy to add to his collection
Q: Five races, two points and two DNFs - and then came Montreal with the podium and a shower of six points. How satisfied are you with your season so far?
Alexander Wurz: Before Montreal the season was a drought and of course I was not satisfied. But the podium has compensated for the thorny start. But even before Montreal - looking at the details - you would have found a different story with the teams performance. In the end, nothing beats driving home in third place in a very turbulent race, where keeping your cool and playing your cards deliberately was crucial.
Q: Aside from the Montreal result, the FW29s performance has been mixed. Had you expected more from the car following the positive winter test results?
AW: You have to see that as a team, Williams had finished in eighth in last years constructors championship. If you take a look at the current level of competition, which is very high amongst teams and drivers, it is impossible to turn it around overnight. If you look at the teams structure since the winter test, in my opinion it is much healthier than it was last year. Of course, I can tell you that it is much better than the year before. For the rest to follow we just need a little bit of time - it is as simple as that. I can say that the current structure and path we have chosen will bring Williams forward. It is hard to say in what timeframe this will happen. Maybe the end of this season or maybe longer, but for sure we are going in the right direction.
Q: What is keeping the teams performance in check? Are there any changes planned over the next few weeks? Team boss Frank Williams cant be happy with the slow progress
AW: You always have to consider where we came from. Of course everybody is a bit unhappy, because we desperately want to win. Williams is one of the most successful teams in the history of Formula One racing. Frank and Patrick (Head) are racers, and nothing more than winning satisfies them. But if we consider the current situation, and take a look at the teams present status, we have to aim towards the next possible step. It is not very easy to reverse a downhill curve (which happened last year) into an immediate uphill curve. The important thing is to maintain the direction we are taking now - and in this respect, the Montreal podium came in the nick of time.
Q: But you are racing again - that must be the most important thing for you
AW: For me in the first place my family is the most important thing. But in terms of racing, you give your life for the sport and I have been involved now for the last ten years. They have been very intense and, of course, I very happy to be back in the race cockpit.
Q: Some might say, in comparison to an organisation like McLaren who have other interests, Williams is dedicated to racing and racing only. Is there a difference in the spirit of the two teams, and if so, what is it?
AW: There is a difference, yes. But what they have in common is that they are both hugely successful, have a long history, and have super intelligent personnel within the organisation. The difference is that the atmosphere varies with the team principals; it comes right down from the top. Frank and Patrick are completely different characters compared to Ron (Dennis) and Martin (Whitmarsh). That makes the difference!
Q: A third of the season is already over and the driver carousel is about to spin for next year. Where do you see yourself in 2008?
AW: I really dont know. I am a fan of making decisions step by step. At the end of the day, I have to perform to get a strong position in the driver market. Lets wait and see, as I think in this season it will all be a little bit slower. In the next four races, I would think that things will start to happen and some changes will take place. For now, I am very happy with the current situation. From day one, I was welcome in the team and this gave me a lot of confidence. On a technical basis, we are all on the same wavelength and everyone is focused in the same direction.
Q: It seems that the FW29 suits Nico Rosbergs driving style more than yours. Would you agree and is there an explanation for this?
AW: When you take a look at the latest data, it is fair enough to say that the tyres fit Nicos turning style better than my own. I personally do not like that the tyres are not so direct in the front, and I did prefer last years tyre material. Nevertheless, I still should be able to adjust to this. I am working on this, and in the races I am fine, but I am still unable to transform this in the qualifying sessions. This is my weak area, but it does not give me sleepless nights as I know the problem and I am working on solving it. At the same time, I have to say that Nico is doing a perfect job, which puts him on a real high. This situation makes it very difficult for me but I dont like any presents and enjoy a challenge.