Williams reflect on Canadian Grand Prix


Williams technical director Sam Michael has been sharing his thoughts on the Canadian Grand Prix, where the team failed to score any points after Nico Hulkenberg finished thirteenth, one place higher than teammate Rubens Barrichello.

Despite this disappointing result, Michael was pleased with the performance of the FW32 in Montreal. “We saw a marked performance improvement with the car in Canada, as demonstrated by the times the drivers achieved in qualifying and during the race,” he said.

“We raced all of the aero upgrade parts we took to Canada, including the front wing, diffuser and brake ducts, and they worked as expected.”

“The new front wing gave us more downforce around Montreal, and it will stay on the car for Valencia.”

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal is a notoriously tough on brakes, but it was tyre wear that was the biggest challenge facing teams this weekend.

Tyre degradation at Montreal was caused by graining,” explained Michael. “This sometimes occurs when grip levels are very low which makes it difficult to generate load and therefore sufficient temperature in the tyre. Every team had similar problems though.”

“We didn't experience any problems with the brakes, although Rubens did suffer with a long pedal which reduced his braking efficiency. This was caused by overheating following the damage sustained to the front wing.”

Partly as a result of the tyre wear, the Williams pit crew had plenty to do on Sunday. The two drivers made six pit stops between them. One of Barrichello’s was after an accident with Jaime Alguersuari and Hulkenberg had an extra stop after an colliding with Adrian Sutil. In addition to his three pit stops, Hulkenberg also incurred a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Despite his one extra trip down the pit lane, Hulkenberg managed to finish ahead of his vastly more experienced teammate. Sam Michael thinks it is a sign that the German is finding his feet in Formula 1.

“Things are coming together for Nico now so it’s getting a lot closer between the two of them,” he said. “[The driver pairing is] a great combination of youth and experience which will yield results as the car's pace improves.”

Williams are expecting more improvements in the coming races. “Our next major upgrade is planned for release at the British Grand Prix after Europe,” said Sam Michael. “For Valencia, we will be taking the blown rear wing (F-duct) with us to test again.”

With the team sitting eighth in the constructor’s championship, ahead of only Sauber and the newcomers, they will be hoping that these upgrades provide a significant improvement to help get their drivers back into the points.