Williams will be bringing a new front wing and diffuser modifications to the Silverstone this weekend, and expect to spend Friday practice re-tuning their set-up to comply with the ban on off-throttle blown diffusers.
The British Grand Prix is a particularly important part of the season for Williams; not only is it the team’s home grand prix, but it is also the venue of their first race victory in 1979, and their 100th win in 1997.
Technical director Sam Michael says that good aero is crucial to success at Silverstone, explaining that it will be a big focus of the team in the build up to qualifying:
“Silverstone is a high speed, fast corner track where aero is dominant,” he said. “We have a new front wing and some diffuser modifications to test for this race. Significantly, blowing the diffuser during braking is no longer allowed, so we’ll be working with the new software through Friday's practice sessions to re-tune our set-up.
“That doesn’t mean that we won’t run a blown diffuser, as the gains are still there when exiting the corner on throttle, but we’ll evaluate two different types of diffusers before we decide which direction to take for qualifying and the race.”
Rubens Barrichello is a big fan of the British Grand Prix, and knows that Williams need their updates to work if they are to score points on Sunday:
“Silverstone remains one of my favourite races,” said the Brazilian. “I love going there and it is also important for the team as it is their home event. The circuit organisers have made some changes this year which could prove interesting at the start of practice. We all know what every corner is called, but drivers tend to use numbers rather than names over the radio.
“They've moved the start/finish straight, so we'll have to remember that Abbey, which we used to refer to as Turn 11, is now Turn 1! I'm sure it won't be a problem though as I think Silverstone has done a phenomenal job and I'm looking forward to getting there to see the new pit complex.
“As a team, we have a tough job ahead of us this weekend. At the last race we didn’t run the revised exhaust, but post race I think it would have been stronger, so we’ll be testing that at Silverstone. It's going to be important for us to get the new bits on the car and get to work with them straightaway to see an improvement in performance.”
Team-mate Pastor Maldonado shares Barrichello’s enthusiasm for Silverstone, having experienced plenty of prior success at the Northamptonshire circuit.
I think that Silverstone is an amazing track,” he said. “It has a great history, it's fast and the new part of the circuit is a good addition. I have always enjoyed racing at Silverstone since my first visit back in 2007.
“I also have good memories of it as I have had some great races there, including winning in both 2009 and 2010 in GP2. My favourite corner is Becketts as it is really quick through there. We'll be working hard to improve the car for this race and once again aim to fight for points.”