Korea debrief with Williams Sam Michael 25 Oct 2010
The inaugural Korean Grand Prix was a real race of attrition, so you would think Williams technical director Sam Michael would be pleased that both his drivers took home points. But, were it not for the tyre troubles Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg faced during the race, Michael believes the FW32 had more than enough performance for the duo to have finished higher up the order than their respective seventh and tenth places. He explains why he hopes the British team will show their full potential at the forthcoming Brazilian event
Q: What were your impressions of the Korea International Circuit?
Sam Michael: The circuit layout was great, it certainly made for interesting racing! For the first Grand Prix, it was a good effort and it's sure to be a race that will grow with the calendar.
Q: Was it an interesting technical challenge? How did grip levels evolve during practice and qualifying?
SM: The rate of circuit evolution was high, with a massive change in surface grip throughout the practice and qualifying sessions. This is normal and to be expected for the first race on a new track.
Q: The cars were slowest through the speed trap in qualifying. Why was this? What was your weather forecast for the race at this stage of the weekend?
SM: We did target a high level of downforce expecting rain for the race. Even so, we were slower in the speed traps than we expected to be.
Q: Did seventh and 10th places in the race reflect the competitiveness of the FW32?
SM: No, not entirely. If you compared the cars that we finished behind and if you consider Nicos pace in the opening stint when he overtook Kubica and was attacking Button, then, near the end of the race, we had both cars well into the points. Unfortunately we had a tyre puncture on Nico's car and Rubens went off the road and lost a couple of positions. So of course we were not happy that we'd scored the points that the FW32 was capable of.
Q: Barrichello lost a couple of positions towards the end of the race. Given the state of his tyres, how much of an achievement was it to get the car home?
SM: Well, those conditions are always difficult for drivers and the team, but of course in F1 it is the same for everyone. It's merely an opportunity to shine!
Q: A slow puncture forced Hulkenberg to make an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 51. How quickly was the tyre deflating & did you consider keeping him out, given that there were only four laps to go?
SM: That's exactly what the engineers were doing on the pit wall. They were monitoring a tyre pressure leak, but suddenly it accelerated, so they had to pit. Nico did well to recover from the Safety Car and his puncture to score a point for the team.
Q: The Brazilian Grand Prix comes next. How do you expect the FW32 to perform at Interlagos?
SM: Very well, hopefully! We can see for a variety of factors that we werent able to show our full potential in Korea and naturally we are expecting more in Brazil.
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