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Q&A with Williams' Sam Michael 21 Aug 2007

Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Friday, 13 April 2007 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 4 August 2007 Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams FW29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 3 August 2007

Williams may still be a way off returning to their championship-winning heydays, but the team have shown significant improvement in 2007. In the hands of Nico Rosberg and Alex Wurz, the Toyota-powered FW29 has brought the team 20 points to date. Technical director Sam Michael evaluates their campaign to date…

Q: We’re now entering the last third of the season. Has the team met the expectations it set itself at the start of the year?
Sam Michael:
We have significantly improved our reliability since last year. We have had just two mechanical DNFs this season, which is in line with the front running teams. However, our target is to have 100 percent reliability, so we will strive to achieve that in 2008.

Performance-wise, we have also improved since last year. Although we want to do better, fifth in the constructors’ is where the car is at the moment. Our target for next year is to improve again as we head back towards the front end.

Q: Formula One has just enjoyed its annual summer break, does that mean any respite for the factory or does work continue apace on the car?
SM:
It is the time when the race team, who obviously spend a lot of the year travelling and therefore away from home, tend to take a short holiday. For the majority of the factory based staff, it's work as usual.

Q: There are just six races to go, what are the team’s hopes for the remaining rounds?
SM:
We will be looking to improve the FW29 and consolidate our current position in the championship.

Q: Should we be looking out for any new parts on the car, or has development ceased on the FW29 and focus shifted to the FW30?
SM:
We are still working on the FW29, of course, but we’re also increasing our focus on the FW30. The last update for the FW29 will appear at the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji.

Q: How are Nico and Alex working together?
SM:
Nico and Alex work really well together and they have a lot of mutual respect for each other. They both work hard and spend a lot of time thinking about the car and how to improve it. Nico and Alex always give me direct feedback after every race and test session as well. That's particularly good because it shows their commitment to the team and wanting to be an integral part of moving us back up the grid.

Q: What have been the highs and lows of your year?
SM:
Two highs of the year were the first couple of races because our car was more competitive than last year. Montreal was also good because Alex finished on the podium in really difficult circumstances. Lows included Monaco, where Nico was fast but because of traffic couldn’t show it, and then Montreal, where he was really fast again but had to fuel under the safety car which ultimately damaged his race.