The Williams Martini Racing team were one of the strongest teams during 2014, claiming nine podium finishes and a pole position in finishing third in the constructors championship. They arrive in Australia after a positive off-season, with the hope of building on last year’s results with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa remaining behind the wheel of their Mercedes-powered cars.
Bottas knows that Australia will be the first opportunity to see where everyone truly stands, with pre-season testing not giving the clearest of indications of competitiveness. He is eager for a strong start to the year, having finished fifth last season despite a clash with the wall that caused a puncture.
“A new season and the first time we see where everyone is competitively,” said Bottas. “The weekend will be interesting but also important as we have to be able to have a strong start and make sure we gain the most from the weekend, especially as other teams improve.
“You never know how other teams will progress throughout the season, so points here are key. I like Melbourne, the first race is really when the gloves come off so qualifying will be an exciting session.”
Team-mate Massa realises the importance of the first race of the season, and knows that all the hard work teams put in during the off-season is all for this moment.
“Being the first race, Australia is important and normally holds a few surprises,” insisted Massa. “All of the hard work over the winter gets its first rewards here, but it can also show a sign of how much work is still to be done. It’s important to start well and give yourself potentially a head start over your competitors.”
After being the innocent victim of Kamui Kobayashi’s errant Caterham at the first corner last season, Massa is eager for a better race this year around the Albert Park track.
“Australia is a tough track though and the rear stability is important. I also hope that I personally have a better start to the season than last year!”