Sam Michael Q&A: Theres more to come from Williams 29 Mar 2011
After all the pre-season hype, Williams disappointed at Sundays Australian Grand Prix, with transmission problems forcing both Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado to retire. But technical director Sam Michael isnt feeling too gloomy. In fact, buoyed up by the FW33s inherent pace, Michael is hopeful that with better reliability in Malaysia the British team could end the Sepang weekend with a double points haul
Q: Neither FW33 finished the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. What caused the retirements of Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado?
Sam Michael: We had transmission failures on both the cars this weekend. We had a failure on Pastors car early on in the race with Rubens retiring on Lap 48. We are still currently investigating both problems.
Q: Barrichello had a gearbox oil leak during final practice on Saturday morning. Did this contribute to his retirement in the race?
SM: No, it was unrelated. The issue we had on Saturday was with the rear gearbox oil seal that caused a leak.
Q: Talk us through Maldonado's Formula One debut. Were you impressed with his performance?
SM: Pastor did well in qualifying despite the limited mileage after he had a spin in P3. Pastor kept his head down but had to abort his final run due to a flat spot on his tyre. His race was over much too quickly however, due to the transmission issue, so he still hasnt been able to show his full potential.
Q: How do you sum up the competitiveness of the FW33 around Albert Park?
SM: The competitiveness of the FW33 was encouraging given the limited running and set-up time we had in Melbourne. There is more to come from the car and I hope in the next few races we can show what the FW33 is capable of.
Q: Was the degradation of the Pirelli tyres as you expected?
SM: The tyre degradation was still high in Melbourne but it was lower than most the teams expected. Sauber's Sergio Perez did well to manage his tyres during the second stint to complete the race with only one pit stop.
Q: What are your thoughts on the new-for-2011 moveable rear wing (DRS)? Did it have the desired effect in Melbourne?
SM: I think the DRS did make a good contribution when it was working but it is still too early to judge. From what we have seen I think it will have the desired effect in assisting overtaking manoeuvres once it is a bit more finely tuned.
Q: The Malaysian Grand Prix comes next. What are your hopes for that race?
SM: Heading to Sepang we will once again be hoping to get into the top ten in qualifying and end the weekend with some points for both cars.
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