Silverstone debrief with Williams Sam Michael 12 Jul 2010
Following Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Sam Michael, Williams technical director, discusses how the weekend unfolded for team mates Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg, the FW32s recent upgrade, and his hopes for the forthcoming German event...
Q: The team introduced a blown diffuser at the British Grand Prix. What performance benefits did it bring and did you have any reliability issues with it?
Sam Michael: Using the exhaust to blow the diffuser improves downforce during on-throttle conditions. Besides some minor work on heat shielding, we had no reliability issues with it.
Q: The FW32 also featured other upgrades, such as a new rear wing. How did they perform?
SM: All the other parts worked as expected and improved the downforce of the car.
Q: The drivers followed different tyre strategies in the race, with Hulkenberg staying on the option tyre until Lap 27. In what state were his tyres at the end of the stint?
SM: Nicos tyres were fine. He could perhaps have stayed out even longer, but his lap times were starting to level off. Combined with the debris on the Hangar Straight threatening the release of the safety car, we decided to pit. It was the correct decision because the safety car was released just one lap later.
Q: What was your feeling about the new layout at Silverstone? Was it more or less of an engineering challenge than the old configuration?
SM: The new layout was very bumpy. That improved as rubber was laid during the race, but its something that needs to be addressed for 2011. On a positive note, I was impressed by how the new layout seemed to promote overtaking during the race.
Q: Barrichello had another good weekend, coming home fifth. How much is the team benefiting from his speed and experience?
SM: Rubens is doing a great job driving our development programme as well as delivering strong qualifying performances and race results. We are very satisfied with his contribution to the team as a whole and specifically with the role he is playing when it comes to which direction we take with the car.
Q: Lap 26 of the British Grand Prix marked the halfway point of the 2010 season. Can you sum up the team's first half performance?
SM: We arent happy with our first half performance, it hasnt been good enough. We're playing development catch-up with the whole car package. That work does seem to be paying off now, but there's still a lot more work to do.
Q: The German Grand Prix is next on the calendar. How do you expect the FW32 to perform at Hockenheim?
SM: Based on the results weve achieved at recent races where the tracks have all been fairly disparate, Hockenheim should go well.