Pastor Maldonado is expecting to be in an even better position than he was last season when racing gets underway in Melbourne on Sunday. The Venezuelan was running sixth when he crashed on the final lap but has confidence in the Williams FW35 to give him a good chance of being competitive.
“We have been working extremely hard over the winter to improve the performance of the car and we have noticed good potential in the recent tests in Barcelona. I’ve been involved with the FW35 build since the start of the project in early 2012, working with the engineers, design office and the technicians in the wind tunnel to push for improvements on all fronts. Obviously we don’t know what other teams have done and you can only learn so much during testing, but we expect to be more competitive than last year. I like street circuits so I always enjoy coming to Australia and now I just want to start the season and find out where we stand.”
Teammate Valtteri Bottas will finally make his Formula One debut and the Finn is also impressed with the machinery he will have at his disposal.
“We have had a good winter at the factory and the car showed strong reliability and performance during testing. The FW35 feels like a new car in comparison to the FW34, behaving and responding differently around the track to the car I was driving on Friday mornings last year and I’m impressed with the improvements the team have made. The winter has seen me preparing hard for the demands of driving a full race which I haven’t done before in Formula One. However, I’ve always done a lot of fitness training and have driven a lot of miles over the past few years with the team, so I’m feeling fully prepared. The first Grand Prix of my career is a big thing for me and I can’t wait for the lights to go out in Melbourne and see how the FW35 performs against the competition.”