Mechanical failures on both AT&T Williams race cars retired Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado from today’s opening Grand Prix in Australia. Prior to retiring on lap 48, Rubens showed a competitive race pace, demonstrating the potential of the FW33 in the opening Grand Prix of the season. A promising first weekend in Formula One for Pastor was cut short on lap nine of today’s race; his retirement concluding a solid start and some combative overtaking manoeuvres.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
After problems with the sector settings on the moveable rear wing, Rubens’ FW33 had a strong opening pace and he was progressing well through the field, setting competitive lap times. We then had a slow leak on the front tyre so we stopped to avoid a failure. Rubens made a good recovery and was making progress when he came together with Rosberg’s Mercedes and the front wing failed. We chose to continue in order to gather data on the tyres and KERS. Towards the end of the race, Rubens retired with a suspected transmission issue. We had a transmission failure on Pastor’s car early on in the race, we are currently investigating both problems. We take away quite a lot of data from this weekend.
It was a tough race for us. I was pushed out a little bit at the start, but then I had a good rhythm going and was doing quite a lot of overtaking until the incident with Rosberg. I wasn’t planning on overtaking him at that point, I was defending from Kobayashi. I think we have one tyre with grip and one with less and so we have different braking points. Rosberg braked earlier, and was already in the middle of the corner before I could stop the car. The ‘33’ was competitive today, which is positive going into the next race.
We don’t know exactly what happened with the car; we will have to look into the problem with our engineers. There was no warning, we just stopped and that was it for us. The start was great though. There were some big moments going into the first two corners, but I came through them ok. I was then getting settled into the race, everything was feeling ok in the car, I felt good and then it went. I’ll now just look forward to getting back out there again in Malaysia.