Sam Michael, the Williams technical director, is targeting big improvements in Shanghai after a disappointing weekend in Malaysia, which culminated in just a single point for the team.
Michael said that the FW32 had performed ‘very well’ in the wet conditions of qualifying last weekend, but knows that the dry weather performance is lacking.
Nico Hulkenberg qualified fifth for the team, and Rubens Barrichello started seventh. While Ferrari and McLaren were made to look a bit stupid when they were caught out by the weather conditions, yet Williams coped well in the torrential rain of Kuala Lumpa. “It was pretty tricky during qualifying, but the golden rule is to keep it simple,” said Sam Michael. “Obviously having both engineers and drivers that stay cool under pressure is essential part of approaching the process correctly.”
However, the drivers could not capitalise on their successful qualifying when it came to the race on Sunday. Sam Michael explained why they lost out in the opening moments of the grand prix. “Both drivers suffered from poor starts which is something we’ve got to get on top of because we have been really strong in this area in the past. We’ll be putting in plenty of practice in Shanghai.”
Hulkenberg was further hampered in the race with a faulty steering wheel. However, after pitting during the race for a replacement, the German did finish in tenth to pick up his first ever Formula 1 point. The Williams technical director said it was the result Hulkenberg needed after problems in the first two races. “It was a good step forward for Nico. Obviously, the priority for him was to complete a race distance and his strong qualifying result gave him a better start to the race than Bahrain or Australia. Only claiming one point I am sure won't satisfy him, but it is moving in the right direction.”
Sam Michael also revealed that Williams will be bringing new aero parts to China, and will hope to be more competitive in Shanghai.