Both Williams F1 drivers finished in the points in Shanghai, Bruno Senna in seventh position and Pastor Maldonado in eighth. Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan gives us his thoughts on a satisfying weekend for the team.
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer:
Q: Mark, congratulations on Williams’ first double points finish since Korea in 2010. What sort of a boost will this result give to the team?
MG: Getting both cars into the points is a very good result and one that every single person in the team can be proud of, especially given the disappointing 2011 season. The team has been further invigorated by this result to push even harder in what is clearly a very tightly spaced grid, with fierce competition.
Q: Can you sum up the performance of the FW34 around the Shanghai International Circuit?
MG: The car’s performance in Shanghai was good in both single lap and in particular race pace, when tyre management was paramount. This race was an interesting one as the track temperatures changed quite a bit throughout the weekend, which made setting the car up to optimise the tyre performance more difficult.
Q: You started the drivers on different tyre compounds, Bruno on primes and Pastor on options. Why was that?
MG: It was a difficult choice to make but we felt that splitting the strategies, with both cars being beside each other on the grid, was the prudent decision to take.
Q: How marginal was a two-stop strategy, given that Shanghai is a high degradation circuit?
MG: It was marginal, especially given the close nature of the racing, but both the drivers and the car managed the tyres well.
Q: Can you sum up the driving performances of Bruno and Pastor over the weekend?
MG: I am very pleased with both of their performances and they fought very hard during the race against stiff competition to secure ten points in total. Their feedback during the event is also excellent which helps us further develop and optimise the car.
Q: Pastor set the fourth fastest lap of the race – quicker than Webber, Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg. What can be read into such an impressive lap time?
MG: Pastor was very quick in that section of the race and he felt the car to be very strong with a good balance.
Q: The Bahrain Grand Prix comes next. What sort of challenge is the circuit and what should we expect from the Williams FW34 there?
MG: On the back of a good weekend in China we are aiming to get both cars into the points again this week. Bahrain will be a tough race, not least due to the high ambient temperatures which can necessitate opening the engine cover body-work to the maximum.