Q&A with Williams Sam Michael 15 Mar 2010
Thanks to the new points system, Rubens Barrichellos tenth-place finish in Bahrain meant the Williams FW32 scored on its Grand Prix debut. However, after a fraught weekend in Sakhir, technical director Sam Michael believes there is plenty more to come from the car - and from Barrichellos rookie team mate Nico Hulkenberg
Q: Did the performance of the FW32 match your pre-season expectations?
Sam Michael: We had quite a few issues to sort out in the days leading up to the Grand Prix and it became apparent early on that we would have some fire-fighting to do in the build-up to the race to ensure we finished on Sunday. Because of that, we had three or four things on the FW32 in Bahrain that we couldn't change quickly. Most of those elements can be corrected over the next couple of races and that should offer a good step in performance.
Q: Rubens set the sixth fastest lap of the race. Does that give us an indication of the cars true potential?
SM: Not really. When Rubens set that time he actually had some damage on his car. We expect to be stronger in forthcoming races.
Q: How did the tyres hold up during the race, particularly during the early stages when the car was at its heaviest?
SM: Tyres weren't a problem. The option was the strongest tyre throughout the race. The prime was good, but it offered less grip.
Q: Did the team have any reliability problems during the course of the weekend?
SM: Yes. We had some issues during practice but, through a huge amount of effort and late nights put in by the teams mechanics, we managed to keep them contained.
Q: Were you pleased with the performance of the Cosworth engine?
SM: Yes. The engine is good and the crew in Northampton have done an exceptional job in a short space of time.
Q: How did Nico handle his race debut?
SM: Nico handled himself well. He was quick throughout practice, but then he made a small, but time costly, mistake in qualifying. He then had a bit of a messy race. Nico is a smart guy who's developing a great relationship with his engineers, Tom McCullough and Andrew Murdoch, and I know he'll deliver.