Formula 1

Sam Michael reflects on a difficult German GP for Williams

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Williams failed to score any points at the German Grand Prix last weekend despite getting both drivers top ten grid slots on the Saturday.

Rubens Barrichello finished twelfth, just in front of teammate Nico Hulkenberg as the team left Hockenheim empty handy.

Technical director Sam Michael revealed that the rain-affected practice sessions had prevented the team from running some of their new parts in Germany.

“[The rain] did have some bearing in that we had some new parts that we wanted to test but couldn't due to the bad weather,” he said. “We will now run them in Budapest.”

The team did introduce some revised diffusers at Hockenheim, which Michael said did improve the FW32’s lap times. However, the drivers once again failed to lap as quickly in Q3 as they had in Q2. Michael reveals that understeer was the cause for this sudden drop off in performance as qualifying wore on.

“Both cars had great runs in Q2,” explained the Williams technical director. “Off the back of that, we thought we could achieve 7th and 8th in Q3. However, both Rubens and Nico's Q3 times were compromised by too much understeer towards the end of their fastest laps, so we only managed 8th and 10th places.”

These grid positions meant that the team had to start on the dirty side of the track, which Michael said probably contributed to their bad starts. Hulkenberg stayed on his starting set of super-soft Bridgestone tyres right up until Lap 34 – over half race distance. In hindsight though, Michael thinks this stint was probably a little long:

“Nico did a long opening stint, perhaps a couple of laps too long. We had nothing to lose running him on that strategy because he was going to drop out of the points anyway. We took the risk of a longer stop in case of a safety car event, which would have benefited him, but that never materialised.”

The team now back up and quickly head to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend. Michael says that, despite the disappointing result in Germany, the team’s target will remain the same at the Hungaroring.
“We have some further upgrades for Hungary,” he revealed. “The team are working hard to bring continual improvements to the cars for each and every race. We will have the same target that we've had all season – both cars in the top ten in qualifying and points for both at the end of the race.”
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