Pastor Maldonado had his first experience of the new Williams FW33 yesterday as he completed 29 laps on Day Two of the Valencia test.
The Venezuelan, who is preparing for his first season in Formula 1, has been discussing the new car and his wider experience of this new world that he has entered.
“Driving the FW33 and getting a feel for the new car was great!” said Maldonado, speaking this morning before Day Three of the test got underway. “My run wasn't that long, but we are concentrating on learning the car to begin with and I was preparing myself for today's programme.”
The 25-year-old revealed that he didn’t test the KERS on the FW33, yesterday and has only used the rear wing flap on a few laps, admitting that he is ‘not yet’ up to speed on all of the new systems in the car. Today he is hoping to get a better idea of how the new Pirelli tyres work with more track time.
When asked what feeling he got sitting in the FW33, Maldonado sounded positive about his experiences so far. “The feeling is really good,” he said. “We need to adapt some parts of the car's set-up to better suit my racing style, and maybe I need to adapt as well. We didn't run for too long yesterday, but we will see how we go today and at the forthcoming tests.”
Maldonado is the reigning GP2 champion but, as he is quickly learning, there are many differences between F1 and its feeder series. “There are a few differences but really I have to keep running, and get some long runs in, in order to understand more clearly the different systems in the car,” he explained.
“There are so many things to look at during pre-season testing, but we will start to do that now. I also need to get used to the team. I think the biggest difference between GP2 and Formula One is the people working around you, there are a lot more people doing lots of different things.”
Of course, Maldonado is not a complete novice when it comes to driving an F1 car. He drove for Williams at the tests in Abu Dhabi after the last race of 2010. However, the Venezuelan reveals that driving a new car is different to driving one that has a whole years development behind it.
“Starting from zero is a bit different,” he comments. “Last year I just had to focus on myself and on improving lap by lap. Now we need to keep working together to develop the car as well, so there will be more of a job to do which will keep us busy. The feeling in the team and with my engineers is good though. I know it will be a really great season with them.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Maldonado says his objective is “to learn, be really quick, do my best for the team and improve race-by-race”. Ask if he feels any pressure he replies: “No, I don't have this kind of pressure. I will do my best and understand everything, and to do the maximum for the team.”