Whereas the Hungaroring did not suit the Williams Martini Racing team, they still showed they could run competitively. Now, arriving at Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix, the car should suit this fast and flowing circuit far better, and both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will be hoping to resume the form that has seen the team become genuine podium contenders.
Bottas has finished on the podium three times in 2014, in Austria, Great Britain and Germany, and is looking forward to getting back on track in Belgium after the mid-season break. He enjoys driving around the Spa-Francorchamps track, and coupled with the possibility of unsettled weather, feels that it is interesting for both drivers and spectators.
“Spa is always a great place to go; it’s one of the best circuits in the world,” insists Bottas. “The elevation changes and high speed corners make it a real pleasure to drive, especially in an F1 car. Because of the long straights and variable weather conditions races can be very interesting for the driver and for the fans.
“To be competitive in Spa you need a car with efficient aerodynamics, so we expect to be strong and are aiming for a good result. The break has been long so I am really looking forward to getting back in the car.”
Team-mate Massa is a past winner at the circuit back in 2008 while racing for Ferrari, inheriting the win after on-track winner Lewis Hamilton was handed a post-race penalty in his McLaren. Like Bottas, he is looking forward to getting back to racing, and hopes the development of the car continues so they can compete at the front again.
“I love Spa, it’s one of my favourite tracks because of the long straights and high speed corners, and it’s a track we all look forward to racing at,” said Massa. “The long straights should suit our car and we can kick the second half of the season off with some success. I won here in 2008 and so I know what it takes to win.
“I have had a really nice summer break but am ready to get back to racing. We have some great tracks to look forward to and I hope we can carry on developing our car like we did the first half of the season, and continue to be near the front.”
Head of Performance Engineering at Williams, Rob Smedley, feels the Spa-Francorchamps circuit should be one the team excel on, and hopes they will be able to maximise their potential so to succeed with the plan of finishing as high up in the championship as possible. After a dire 2013 campaign where the team scored just five points, they are currently fourth in the championship, close to the Scuderia Ferrari team in third.
“We have had a really good start to the 2014 campaign, everyone is living and learning how to race back at the top again,” said Smedley. “Hopefully everybody has come back refreshed and motivated for the second half of the season. The objectives within the team are clear; we want to finish as high up in the constructors’ table as possible.
“Spa is a circuit that should suit us, there is very high drag and engine sensitivity and those features will benefit us. The middle sector is something we will have to work on throughout the weekend, and in qualifying we will need to have the tyres switched on for that sector. There is always a chance for rain in Spa, so we have to be conscious of this throughout the weekend.”