Williams technical director Sam Michael has been looking back at what he called the ‘good progress’ that the team showed during the Singapore Grand Prix.
Rubens Barrichello qualified sixth for Sunday’s race, and recovered from a bad start to finish in the same position. Teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who was demoted five grid places for a gearbox change, started the race seventeenth and was eventually classified tenth in the race standings.
Hulkenberg has 20 seconds added to his race time, as did Force India driver Adrian Sutil, after stewards deemed that the pair had gained an advantage by leaving the track on the opening lap of the night race. Sam Michael says that “the team accepts the decision by the stewards”.
The fact that both cars scored points in the race, despite the trying circumstances, was a positive result for the team. “Singapore showed that we have made good progress with the FW32,” says Michael. “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.”
The Williams technical director also revealed that, in addition to the new gearbox Hulkenberg required on Friday, the German also needed a new Cosworth engine before qualifying. “We had an issue with the differential on Nico’s gearbox after Monza,” Michael explains. “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.”
Barrichello finished the race just under seven seconds behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, and ahead of the Renault of Robert Kubica. Michael thinks that the FW32 should be able to match the competitiveness of their nearest rivals for the remainder of the season. He concludes by stating the aims for the next race in Suzuka:
“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.”