Williams enter the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne full of optimism at a circuit enjoyed by its drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who aim to back up their positive winter performances with a strong start to the 2014 Formula 1 season this weekend.
The team enter the year on the back of a highly encouraging bout of pre-season testing which showed encouraging pace along with the addition of Mercedes-Benz providing the team’s V6 engine for 2014, and are hopeful of contending for their first Australian Grand Prix triumph since the Albert Park circuit first took over hosting the event in 1996.
Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer, said: “After our productive winter testing programme we now head off to Melbourne for the first race of the 2014 season. There’s always a great anticipation when we arrive in Australia, largely as it will be the best measure so far of where we line up against the opposition.”
The team’s new driver Felipe Massa is a fan of the venue that will open the potentially unpredictable 2014 F1 season, and is confident of making a strong start to his season with the Martini-backed squad, following eight years at Ferrari since 2006.
“I love Melbourne, it’s a fantastic place and a really good atmosphere”, said Massa, whose best finish at this event of third came back in 2010.
“The people there really love racing and Formula 1 and so are always really welcoming towards us. I like the track and it’s quite a challenging circuit. I am really looking forward to racing there this year and having a good start to the season with Williams Martini Racing.”
Entering his second full season with the Williams team, team-mate Bottas added: “I am really looking forward to going to Melbourne. It’s a very nice track with a great atmosphere. It’s a new season and a new challenge, not just for me but for everyone. We will finally get to see where every team’s performance is.
“I really enjoy the track and I can’t wait to get racing again”, said the Finnish racer, who finished 14th on his F1 debut at the very same Albert Park circuit 12 months ago.
“The track improves a lot throughout the weekend because it’s not a permanent race track which means that we have more grip each time we go out and so you have to make the right set-up changes for each session.”