Technical problems hampered Williams‘ preparations for the Japanese Grand Prix as Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg were forced to sit-out parts of the two practice sessions.
The team did draw some positives from the day however. The new components brought to Japan, including new front and rear brake ducts, worked well.
Technical director Sam Michael, summarised the teams’ day: “We experienced some technical problems today which threw us off plan slightly. We had electrical issues on Nico’s car, while Rubens' practice engine developed a pneumatic leak towards the end of P2. All of the upgrade parts are working well though so they will remain on the cars for qualifying. The car also looks like it has reasonable pace. The forecast predicts rain tomorrow afternoon, which could make for an interesting qualifying.”
Barrichello finished the day fourteenth fastest, but did only complete 16 laps in the afternoon session. In the morning he was sixth on the timesheets, and is optimistic for qualifying tomorrow. “I obviously had a problem with my car during the second session. That was disappointing, but the car seems to be well balanced and should take us through to Q3 again tomorrow.”
Hulkenberg was seventh and tenth in the two sessions and is enjoying his first visit to Japan. “We had some technical problems during today's second session which prevented us from going out exactly when we wanted to, but they didn't really cost us anything and today went ok overall,” the German said. “It's looking really competitive out there. We aren't looking too bad; we just need to get everything right tomorrow. The circuit is living up to expectation and I'm loving driving it.”