It was a testing weekend for AT&T Williams at the Nürburgring. The unseasonably cold weather was reminiscent of winter testing, as was the number of upgrades brought to the race for the FW33. Neither car finished in the points, but the team learnt a lot and it will use that knowledge going forward, starting in this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.Sam Michael provides the team’s technical assessment of the German Grand Prix weekend.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Q: The team took various upgrades to the Nürburgring. What were they and how did they perform?
SM: We took a new front wing to Germany which we raced on Rubens’ car. We also took a new rear wing, but we had a structural issue during Friday practice so we decided not to race with it. We will have that new rear wing again in Budapest to test again. We also had some suspension upgrades at the Nürburgring, but we also didn’t race these as we will do further testing with them in Hungary.
Q: With rain forecast for Sunday, did you set up either FW33 with a wet race in mind?
SM: No, the forecast wasn’t showing a high enough chance of rain when we had to decide our set-up on Saturday.
Q: Rubens qualified and raced without KERS. Why was that?
SM: We wanted to do a race weekend without KERS on one car to see the effect it had on tyre degradation due to the engine braking maps that we have to run. Obviously there is also a weight trade-off with KERS, so by not running it you gain a lot of ballast.
Q: Have you established the cause of the oil leak that put Rubens out of the race?
SM: Yes, it was a rear main oil seal. We had to stop to avoid damaging the engine.
Q: How did the cold weather conditions affect tyre performance on race day?
SM: We struggled to get the optimum tyre performance in the cold temperatures throughout the weekend. That was still evident on Sunday.
Q: Pastor was the first driver to switch to the prime tyre, on lap 35. Why did he make that change so early?
SM: Our wear rate was too high on the option tyre as we were planning to try and get to at least lap 40. Although the prime tyre was not as good, the strategy really fell down because of the traffic and blue flags we had to deal with during the those critical laps between Pastor’s pitstop and the pitstops of those he was fighting against.
Q: The Hungarian Grand Prix comes next. Are you expecting more performance from the FW33 in hotter conditions?
SM: Yes. We have new bodywork that changes our cooling regime significantly. This is something that, as well as helping the FW33 diffuser, will also be good information for the FW34 design.