Williams, who are still yet to finish a race this season, now head to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix, desperate to get their first points on the board in 2011.
Rubens Barrichello is a big fan of the circuit, for which he has fond memories. The Brazilian is optimistic that a new exhaust system on his car will help to push him up the running order. “I like Shanghai a lot,” he said. “I like the layout of the circuit and I have good memories here, having won the inaugural race in 2004.
“We have an upgrade to the car this weekend which I hope will improve our speed and overall performance. It hasn't been a good start to the season for us as we are yet to finish a race where we belong, but I'm hoping the upgrade will help us to move forward.”
In contrast, team-mate Pastor Maldonado has never driven the track before, but the Venezuelan thinks that the team can take a step forward this weekend.
“China is a completely new track for me so I need to learn the layout as well as work very hard with the team to solve the problems we had in Malaysia,” said Maldonado. “I know there is a very short time between races, but I think we have the potential to improve and to become more competitive. It's going to be a bit cooler than in Malaysia but it is a very technical circuit so difficult to get a good overall set-up.
“One key feature is the first corner as it's one of the longest corners of the whole season. I have had a day in our simulator in Grove to begin learning the circuit and now I'm really looking forward to getting there.”
Technical director Sam Michael emphasises the technical challenges that the track presents, and lays out ambition targets for the team in China. “The corners in Shanghai are all heavily loaded on entry, particularly Turn 1,” he explains. “This normally requires a strong front end for the driver to place the car accurately. Traction is also important with there being four slow speed corner exits around the lap. Track temperatures are cooler again in Shanghai, much like they were during the Australian GP.
“We are still aiming for a top ten qualifying performance and to get some points on the board in Shanghai. We also have a new exhaust system for Rubens' car that we will test and evaluate on Friday.”