WilliamsF1's Technical Director, Patrick Head, talks about the team's performance in Melbourne and looks ahead to the forthcoming Malaysian Grand Prix. Q: Patrick, how would you assess the team's performance in Melbourne and what improvements...
WilliamsF1's Technical Director, Patrick Head, talks about the team's performance in Melbourne and looks ahead to the forthcoming Malaysian Grand Prix.
Q: Patrick, how would you assess the team's performance in Melbourne and what improvements are being made to close the gap to Ferrari?
The team's performance in Melbourne wasn't good enough in that we finished fourth and fifth and we were beaten by one other Michelin car, Fernando Alonso in the Renault, and two Ferraris. I think the tyre situation, and the fact that the Michelins grained quite a lot in Australia, played a part but I don't think that was the whole reason for finishing behind Ferrari.
We have stated quite clearly that our targets for the year are both Championships, so we are obviously off track at the moment for those targets and it is going to be interesting to see how we get on in Malaysia where I hope it will be dry and a lot hotter. Meanwhile we are obviously developing the car as fast as we are able.
Q: What is you view of how the other teams performed?
Well, I think Renault were outstanding - their car last year was very good and they seemed to have carried that through, but the main thing that stands out is the engine in the Renault which they are perfectly straightforward about saying isn't yet fully competitive from a power point of view.
To produce a new engine under the new durability rules and have both cars finish in the points at the first race as well as be the leading Michelin car is to be admired. B.A.R. have clearly made significant improvements, ultimately they did finish sixth, but have moved on a long way from last year. Otherwise of course Ferrari were the outstanding team.
Q: How well do you expect the BMW WilliamsF1 Team to do in Malaysia?
I'd be very disappointed if we didn't do a lot better in Malaysia than we did in Australia from a competitive point of view. Clearly if we allow a situation to perpetuate where Ferrari are finishing first and second, even if we finish third and fourth, Ferrari will start opening up a big gap in the Constructors' Championship, and we can't afford for that to happen, so we need to get our act together pretty quickly and start scoring points.
Q: In your opinion, what changes need to be made to the format of practice and qualifying?
I think everybody concluded that the whole process was too long and not really exciting enough. It wouldn't be a problem to drop the first part of qualifying which is supposed to be there to set the order in which you qualify for the grid in the second part and we would be quite happy to go for qualifying for our grid position according to either the finishing order of the previous race or the positions at that time in the Championship.