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Michael: Williams can keep matching Renault & Mercedes 29 Sep 2010

(L to R): Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams with Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director and Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 27 August 2010 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW32. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 26 September 2010 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 25 September 2010 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 25 September 2010

Aside from frontrunners Ferrari and Red Bull, Williams were the only other team to see both their drivers finish the Singapore Grand Prix in the points. Fellow midfield stalwarts Renault and Mercedes GP, and Williams’ current championship rivals Force India, meanwhile, had just one driver reach the top ten. Even with a poor start for Rubens Barrichello and a post-race penalty for Nico Hulkenberg for leaving the track and gaining an advantage on the opening lap, it was positive progress for the British team. Technical director Sam Michael reviews the ups and downs of the race…

Q: What's your reaction to the 20-second penalty given to Nico Hulkenberg following a post-race protest by Force India?
Sam Michael:
The team accepts the decision made by the FIA stewards.

Q: Aside from that, the Singapore Grand Prix was a positive weekend for Williams. What's your assessment of the new parts taken to the race?
SM:
Singapore showed that we have made good progress with the FW32. Recent results highlight the fact that we've been competitive at a variety of different circuit layouts. That should continue for the remaining races on the calendar.

Q: Hulkenberg required a new gearbox on Friday and a new engine just before qualifying. What were the problems with these units?
SM:
We had an issue with the differential on Nico's gearbox after Monza. Changing it cost us a five-place penalty on the grid for Singapore. We then had a suspected water leak on the engine we were intending to use for Sunday’s race so we also had to change that, but that didn’t demand a penalty. We will check the engine and the cooling system when the parts return to the UK to establish the causes.

Q: Why did Barrichello make such a poor start, and how much was his race compromised by the second safety-car period?
SM:
The initial part of Rubens’ start wasn't good so he had to take some risks on the first lap to minimise the damage. Fortunately, the second safety car didn’t affect his race at all.

Q: Going forward, do you think the FW32 can take on Renault and Mercedes at every track?
SM:
We should be able to match their competitiveness, yes. That is certainly the aim.

Q: What are your expectations for Suzuka, the next race on the calendar?
SM:
As it’s been for the past few races, our objective for Japan is to get both cars into the top ten in qualifying and then for both to score points in the race.

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