After scoring championship points in five of the last seven FIA Formula 1 events, including a big win in the Spanish GP for Pastor Maldonado, Williams F1 is looking to keep the momentum rolling as the series heads to Valencia this weekend.
The recent successes for Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado have gotten Williams into the seventh spot in the constructors standings, but the team is well aware that they need to keep tallying points if they are to maintain their standing.
“Following the last two sets of race results we are keen to continue to demonstrate our team's improvement and ensure both cars come home in the points,” said Williams’ Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan. “Valencia proves a difficult track for both driver and car and with the expected large track evolution throughout the weekend tire management will once more be crucial. The track layout places a lot of stress on the braking system and the high ambient temperatures, coupled with a lower than average mean speed, forces one to open up the cooling package.”
Maldonado hadn’t done much in the last four races outside of his win from pole in Spain, having started 20th or worse in three of those starts and retiring in two of them. The tricky street course in Valencia could provide a springboard, but Maldonado knows that he and his engineers have to put in some work for that to happen.
“Valencia is a challenge for the drivers because it combines a street circuit that’s used by regular road cars throughout the year with sections of regular race track so it can be tricky to achieve the ideal set up,” Maldonado said. “The layout is quite quick with some long straights but there are also some slow corners so finding the right balance will be crucial to doing well.”
Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations Rémi Taffin agrees with Maldonado that everything must be working in conjunction on a track that tests every part of the race car.
“It’s actually a big challenge to get the engine mapping right for Valencia as the corners are so similar,” said Taffin. “Ten corners are taken in first, second or third gear, and if you get one corner wrong then you will be at a disadvantage for the rest of the lap. Typically delivering this driveability at low torque and mid revs is one of the strengths of the Renault engine as our engineers are adept at tuning drive maps to deliver torque smoothly to help the driver control slip ratio and tire wear.”