While neither of its FW34s finished Sunday’s 58-lap Australian Grand Prix, the Williams F1 Team left Melbourne feeling upbeat about the potential of the car. Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan talks us through a weekend of speed and consistency Down Under.
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Q: Is Pastor Okay after his crash, and how much damage is there to the chassis? MG: Yes Pastor is fine and the chassis stood up well to the impact. We damaged the front wing, nose and other body work but the chassis is undamaged.
Q: How would you sum up the performance of the FW34 around Albert Park? MG: The FW34 performance was as we were expecting in qualifying and our relative race pace was perhaps slightly better than expected and very encouraging going forwards into the new season.
Q: Did Pirelli’s medium and soft-compound tyres pose any problems? MG: No both tyres worked well.
Q: How did the wet weather on Friday affect your preparations for the weekend? MG: The wet conditions obviously limited the base mechanical and aero set-up work that one could perform in addition to limiting any longer runs on the dry tyres which are typically done throughout Friday to allow one to predict race tyre wear and degradation.
Q: Albert Park is regarded by some people as unrepresentative of the other tracks on the calendar. Is this a view you share? MG: I agree that one typically needs to review the relative pace of the car after the fourth race in order to get a balanced view of the cars’ general performance, but from both winter testing and this first race one can develop a reasonable perspective.
Q: Looking ahead to next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, how do you expect the FW34 to perform? MG: I expect us to be strong once more and the team can’t wait for the event to start.
Q: How does the team prepare technically for the heat and humidity of Sepang? MG: By drinking lots of water and avoiding as much sun as possible!