Q&A WITH TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, SAM MICHAEL
Q: What's your reaction to the 20-second penalty given to Nico Hulkenberg following a post-race protest by Force India?
SM: The team accepts the decision made by the FIA stewards.
Q: Aside from that, the Singapore Grand Prix was a positive weekend for AT&T Williams. What's your assessment of the new parts taken to the race?
SM: Singapore showed that we have made good progress with the FW32. Recent results highlight the fact that we've been competitive at a variety of different circuit layouts. That should continue for the remaining races on the calendar.
Q: Nico required a new gearbox on Friday and a new engine just before qualifying. What were the problems with these units?
SM: We had an issue with the differential on Nico's gearbox after Monza. Changing it cost us a five place penalty on the grid for Singapore. We then had a suspected water leak on the engine we were intending to use for Sunday’s race so we also had to change that, but that didn’t demand a penalty. We will check the engine and the cooling system when the parts return to the UK to establish the causes.
Q: Why did Rubens make such a poor start, and how much was his race compromised by the second Safety Car period?
SM: The initial part of Rubens’ start wasn't good so he had to take some risks on the first lap to minimise the damage. Fortunately, the second safety car didn’t affect his race at all.
Q: Going forward, do you think the FW32 can take on Renault and Mercedes at every track?
SM: We should be able to match their competitiveness, yes. That is certainly the aim.
Q: What are your expectations for Suzuka, the next race on the calendar?
SM: As it’s been for the past few races, our objective for Japan is to get both cars into the top ten in qualifying and then for both to score points in the race.