WILLIAMS F1 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW…
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: It’s great to be back racing again after the August break and the whole team has been preparing eagerly for the remaining nine races, eight of which are back to back. Spa is a fantastic circuit and an excellent challenge for the drivers and car alike. We’re expecting rain at the beginning of the weekend but are hopeful for a dry qualifying and race. Setting the correct wing level with DRS is crucial around this track and one tends to see a number of different aerodynamic solutions. Pirelli are bringing their hard and medium tyres which were last used way back in Malaysia.
Pastor Maldonado: Spa is a very special circuit for me because I’ve had a lot of success there in the past and I really enjoy the layout. The circuit also has a lot of history so it’s a race that you want to do well at. It will also be interesting to see the performance of the other teams and find out who has made gains since we last raced. I’m looking forward to getting going again after the summer break and hopefully we can build on the good progress we’ve shown so far this season and have a strong run of results in the second half of the year.
Bruno Senna: We’ve had a good streak of races recently and I had a solid result in Hungary so I’m looking forward to keeping the momentum going. Spa is one of my favourite tracks and I raced there last year with the Pirelli tyres so that knowledge will help with our performance this time around. Qualifying will be important and I’m looking to get into Q3 like I did in the last race and from there hopefully score some good points for the team.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: The driver will encounter every sort of corner possible so we have to get the RS27 to perform over all levels of torque and revs. The engine needs to deliver good top end power for the long straights, yet a smooth power curve through the flowing corners like Blanchimont. Response is also key out of the slower hairpins and chicanes. We actually use Spa as a control circuit on the dyno to test an engine’s reliability as it puts so much stress on the internal parts. With such huge demands exerted, we’ll be introducing fresh engines for this race.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: Spa is one of the most demanding circuits of the year for our tyres because of the high levels of energy they are subjected to, which is why we have selected the P Zero Silver hard and P Zero White medium compounds: a combination that was last used in Malaysia at the start of the year. The other important factor in Spa is the weather, as rain is a very frequent occurrence: sometimes with wet conditions affecting just one part of the circuit while the rest remains dry. Consequently there are many interesting opportunities to formulate a number of different strategies over the course of this very long race.