Spanish GP: Williams preview

The Event The Circuit de Catalunya plays host to the sixth round of the Formula One season this weekend, the Spanish Grand Prix. Falling just one week after the European race at the Nürburgring, the team will travel directly to Barcelona, a ...

The Event

The Circuit de Catalunya plays host to the sixth round of the Formula One season this weekend, the Spanish Grand Prix. Falling just one week after the European race at the Nürburgring, the team will travel directly to Barcelona, a circuit at which WilliamsF1 has taken five victories since its debut on the Formula One calendar in 1991.

Located just outside of the city, Montmeló is also a favoured test facility and is therefore one of the most familiar circuits for all the teams. The FW28 has covered over 6,000 testing kilometres at the Spanish track this year and it is this experience that the team is looking to draw upon this weekend to improve upon its current position in the championship.

Between the races

With such a short break between Germany and Spain, none of the drivers were on call for testing or marketing activities leaving Mark, Nico and Alex to all head home for some brief respite before heading to Barcelona on Thursday this week.

Making the car go fast

The FW28s will feature several updated mechanical components in Spain which are expected to improve the team's pace in qualifying. Both cars will also run with new hydraulic parts to ensure that the fault experienced on Mark's car at the Nürburgring does not re-occur.

Barcelona from a technical perspective

The Circuit de Catalunya is regarded as one of the most technically challenging tracks visited during the Formula One season. The direction of car set-up is dominated by the sweeping, high speed corners, for which the drivers and their engineers prioritise a high downforce set-up with good grip levels for optimum car stability. Aerodynamic efficiency is also crucial, although can be compromised by the unpredictable winds.

In fact, the region's erratic weather conditions pose one of the greatest challenges over the weekend and force a continual evolution of car set-up to cope with the changeable conditions. Tyre selection must take into consideration the track's abrasive nature as well as the considerable loadings and energy events which occur over a lap. With only 61% of the lap raced at full throttle, engines experience a relatively relaxed race in Barcelona.

Mark Webber:

"Barcelona is obviously a venue all the teams know exceptionally well because we have all done thousands and thousands of testing kilometres there. It has been a bit of a tricky circuit for us in recent years, but I feel we have made some progress in recent tests and I also think Bridgestone is putting some pressure on Michelin, which is good, so I hope we can take some of this progress to the Grand Prix."

"The atmosphere in Spain will be incredible because of Fernando, but it is good for the rest of us to compete when the event is buzzing. I'm looking forward to it."

Nico Rosberg:

"Even though I have raced in Barcelona only once before in GP2, I know the track very well because we have done a lot of testing there, like most of the F1 teams. Since Imola, we have improved our performance and we were quite competitive at the Nürburgring, so I believe we can collect some points at Montmeló."

"It's an interesting and a quick track, and I like it. I scored some points there in GP2 and also set the fastest lap, but the best memory I have of Barcelona is my first test in an F1 car - a Williams, of course, back in 2002."

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1:

"Barcelona is a unique circuit, but it is also challenging to find a well balanced set-up there. We spend some time testing at Barcelona during the winter but the weather conditions are usually so different that the teams are still tuning the set-up during the race weekend. The reduced engine power compared to last year means that two of the four high speed (250kph+) corners are now full throttle, although they still put a large loading on the car."

"We will have some mechanical items to further improve the FW28 as we go into the second race on the Cosworth engines, while we will also have two new tyres from Bridgestone that we have tested extensively at Barcelona and at Silverstone a few weeks ago. Strategy has traditionally been a two or three stopper, but the revised qualifying format may affect that, but that will become evident after the practice sessions."

Simon Corbyn, Head of F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth:

"Both Cosworth CA2006 Series 4 engines will continue for their second events at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. We identified no problems with either engine during the post race checks at the Nürburgring. Cosworth will now work with WilliamsF1 to optimise the remaining engine duty cycle for both Mark and Nico in Barcelona."


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Nico Rosberg
Teams Williams