After a sixth place finish in Singapore for Rubens Barrichello and tenth place for Nico Hulkenberg, Williams in the hunt for sixth place in the constructor's championship, just four points behind Force India.
This week, battle recommences in Suzuka, Japan. As Sam Michael points out, the 5.807km figure-of-eight circuit is a real test of drivers ability, and with the team taking its final updates of the season out to the far east this weekend, the Williams technical director has his sights set on a good result.
“[Suzuka] has it all,” explains Michael, “but one of its highlights is the fantastic Esses section. Being able to deliver a strong sector time across that part of the lap is one of the best indicators of a driver's ability.
“Both cars will be running our final upgrade components and we expect to run them all weekend. Our target will be for both FW32s to be fighting for points among the top 8 contenders and to therefore be racing for points.”
This weekend will be Rubens Barrichello's sixteenth grand prix at Suzuka (the 2007 and 2008 races were held in Fuji), and the Brazilian holds the track in very high regard. “I love going to this race,” he explains. “It's in my top three of all the tracks we visit. It's a big effort to get there, especially from Brazil, but you quickly forget about that when you engage first gear and leave the garage for the first time. Suzuka is a lovely circuit. It's a very high speed track and has lots of high speed corners. You really have to be on it all the time.”
“I'm fortunate enough to have raced in Japan since 1993 and it's wonderful to keep going back. We will have to wait and see how we go but I am optimistic that we can do well again this weekend.”
In stark contrast, Nico Hulkenberg has never even been to Japan before, but he is looking forward to driving around Suzuka for the first time. “I've heard good things about [Japan] so I'm really looking forward to this trip,”says the German. “As I obviously haven't driven the track before either, I've been preparing on the simulator at the factory. I've also been going through data with my engineers to be in the best position I can be when I get there.”
“It looks like it's going to be a fun track to drive. I think it will be important to get a good rhythm in the corners and there will be some challenging areas, but I like that. I'll have the new diffuser in Japan so that will help me. We will have to wait until Friday to see where we are and go from there, but I'm looking forward to another good weekend and bringing some more points home for the team.”