Tag Archives: Valtteri Bottas

Formula 1

Williams F1 fb

WILLIAMS F1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW…

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: This weekend is the Williams F1 Team’s home race and it is always great to be amongst all our fans. It is also one of our most successful races, with ten wins in total for the team in Britain. The new circuit layout, introduced in 2010, has the second highest average speed of any circuit on the calendar, behind Monza, and the average corner speed is the highest of any circuit this season.

Ambient conditions are typically cool which means good engine power and less chance of thermal degradation in the tyres. The track is relatively rough and tyre energy input is high, higher than Barcelona but much more evenly balanced across the left and right hand sides of the car and more towards the front. Longer range forecasts predict a dry and sunny weekend but whatever conditions we meet, we will be pushing hard to continue the development of the FW35.

Pastor Maldonado: This weekend has been something that the team have been looking forward to all year and I’m proud to be part of this historic moment. Silverstone also happens to be one of my favourite circuits on the calendar. It has a lot of character and some very iconic corners, and the British fans are always very passionate and knowledgeable. With the track being quick and the temperatures usually low it is easy to grain the front tyres and this is something we will have to manage and consider when deciding on the pit stop strategy. The new part of the track is still very green with less grip which is something you have to bear in mind when behind the wheel. Hopefully we can have a strong weekend and score some points to make the weekend even more memorable for the team.

Valtteri Bottas: This is going to be a very special weekend for Williams, celebrating 600 races in front of our home fans at a track which has a lot of history for the team and is great fun to drive. Silverstone is a classic racers track – with some very high speed corners which require a lot of downforce in order to be quick through them. I drove in FP1 last year and at the Young Drivers Test so I have experience of driving a Formula One car at Silverstone which is always helpful in getting up to speed quickly. Normally the track is quite tough on the tyres with quite a bit of graining because the temperatures are cool and the track is very demanding. The weather never makes the circuit any easier due to the often rainy and cold conditions, but after our strong qualifying in Canada in wet conditions I’m confident we would handle this well.

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Even with the addition of the new slow loop, Silverstone remains one of the toughest challenges for the engine. A touch over 66% of the lap is spent at full throttle in qualifying and the average speed is well over 200kph. However it is the high speed corners that also challenge the RS27, particularly the sweeping Maggotts-Beckett-Chapel complex. Average speeds through this section are around 250kph and no lower than 190kph at any one point, with huge lateral forces put through the car. The oil and fuel systems therefore have to be resilient as the fluids are squashed from side to side, while the engine needs to be smooth to maintain the speed.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: The contrast between Silverstone and the last round in Montreal couldn’t be greater: we go from a circuit that’s stop-and-start with big braking areas and aggressive kerbs to one of the fastest and most flowing tracks of the year. We’ve chosen the two hardest compounds in the Formula One range – P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium – in order to cope with the high-energy loadings that go hand in hand with the high average speeds you see in Great Britain. The track surface is very smooth, but wear and degradation can be considerable because of all the forces going through the tyres, which peak at around 5g. The big variable in Silverstone is of course the British weather – which is capable of anything. We’ve seen wet and dry races in the past but at the same time it can be very hot too. And obviously, the higher the temperature, the more demands are placed on the tyre. This will be the determining factor for tyre strategy at Silverstone, which as we have seen in the past often has a key influence in the race outcome. Of course strategy begins in qualifying, and we saw from Valtteri Bottas’s Saturday performance in Canada just what a difference it makes to be on the right tyre at the right time.

Formula 1

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Saturday

WILLIAMS F1 LOOKING FOR A REPEAT…

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: The Spanish Grand Prix is always one we look forward to as it is a track we all know well due to the amount of time spent there during winter testing. We also have fond memories of Pastor’s win there last season. A lot of engine and chassis decisions are also based around Barcelona as teams have so much data from there.

Track conditions can change a lot during the weekend, making it a challenge to get a good set-up. The track layout, with its high average speed, also makes it quite hard on tyres. Surprisingly it has a similar power sensitivity to Monaco, due to the long corners and demand on handling. As the first race back in Europe, traditionally many teams will bring upgrades to their cars – and we are no different. Following a successful aero test at Idiada last week, we have a number of upgrades which we will be looking to run over the coming races.

Pastor Maldonado: It will be very special to return to Barcelona after my win there last season. Whilst all the drivers know the track very well and we have some good data from testing here earlier in the year, the track changes quite a lot so you still need to familiarise yourself with the conditions during practice and set up the car accordingly. The choice of tyre compound will also be a big factor on how well the teams handle the track conditions as the track can be quite hard on tyres. We are now entering a very important part of the season because the next couple of races are quite close to the factory, so there will be more opportunities for us to react to our performance on track and make changes to the car.

Valtteri Bottas: Whilst I have never raced at Barcelona in Formula One, I know the track really well as I’ve raced there in Formula Renault and Formula 3 and I’ve done a lot of testing with Williams at the circuit. The win last year in Barcelona was a big motivational boost for everyone and was a good example of what we can achieve when everything comes together. We are working hard to get back to that level and following a good aero test last week at Idiada and a number upgrades coming for this race, hopefully Barcelona can be the start of improved performance for us this year.

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Barcelona is a track we know well from testing; this year we covered over 3,000km. It is used extensively as it has a very good ‘average’ of characteristics of other circuits on the calendar. There are a variety of low and medium speed corners that push the RS27 on the lower rev ranges of the engine, but there is also the 1km pit straight where the cars reach over 300kph. The undulating nature of the track also puts the engine internals under pressure so every element of the engine gets a full workout here.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re introducing a new version of our hard tyre in Spain, which has been nominated together with the medium compound. The new hard tyre is more similar in characteristics to the 2012 hard tyre, with a wider working temperature window. This gives the teams more opportunities to run a greater variety of strategies in combination with the other compounds, which haven’t changed. Spain is among the tracks that put the highest lateral loads through the tyres all year, so it’s important to strike the right balance as always between performance and durability. Luckily this is a circuit that all the teams know well, so there is plenty of existing data – including from pre-season testing this year –to use when planning a race strategy. We would expect to see three pit stops during the race, as was the case last year. In a fresh departure we’re also introducing a new set of hard tyres that will be used during free practice one on Friday only, in order to encourage all the teams to run throughout the whole session.

Formula 1

Williams F1

WILLIAMS WITH HOPES TO IMPROVE THEIR START OF THE 2013 SEASON GIVES A PREVIEW OF THE CHINESE GP – 

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: After a difficult two races we’ve been back at the factory going through the data to try to understand where we need to improve. We feel we have a better understanding of where we are and the whole team has been working hard to improve our competitiveness going into the next few races. Ultimately we are looking at a significant upgrade for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The ambient conditions in China will be kinder although the weather can be quite changeable. The cooler temperatures we expect are not only more favourable for the car but also for both the team and driver. The circuit is also usually quite hard on tyres, so that could prove another challenge.

Pastor Maldonado: This can be quite an unpredictable race and the weather conditions are a particular challenge. There is also a mix of different corners so you need to get the right balance between good straight line speed for the very long straight, whilst still having good grip in the lower speed corners. Another challenge is the strategy as there are a few difficult decisions the engineers face when deciding what type of race to run here. We haven’t had the best start to the season and we need some time to improve our car to be solid in the points, but the whole team is working very hard so let’s wait and see how we can adapt the car for this race.

Valtteri Bottas: I have experience driving the Shanghai International Circuit as I drove in FP1 last year and it’s a track that shares similar characteristics to the last Grand Prix in Malaysia. Whilst not as hot and humid, the weather can be variable so you need a car that works well in different conditions.  Getting the tyres to work will be the biggest challenge facing all of the teams, as the temperatures are often low and the smooth track surface is quite different to what we saw in the first two races. I was unlucky not to score my first points in the last race and whilst we aren’t quite where we feel we should be, the team has been working hard to understand the car and bring a package to this race that’s a step forward in performance.

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Shanghai is unique on the calendar as there is a 1.3km straight where the engine is at full revs and top speed for nearly 18secs, but a relatively low percentage of the lap is spent at full throttle. The engine therefore needs to deliver throughout the entire range. Under these circumstances engine braking support needs to be consistent to assist with a stable rear end, but the top speed must not suffer on the long straight. The high amount of dust from the factories around the circuit means grip is low, but can also be ingested into the engine, putting it at risk from internal damage.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’ll be bringing our P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres to China: the same combination as last year although of course the tyres are generally all softer and faster this year. Shanghai is definitely a race where strategy can make a huge difference: in the past we’ve seen a wide variety of strategies being used, with some very close finishes. A car that uses its tyres well here certainly has the capability to spring a surprise. Compared to the last round in Malaysia and the next one in Bahrain, we should see some comparatively cool temperatures in China, but with plenty of energy going through the tyres we would expect most competitors to stop three times. We’ve obviously had quite a wet start to the season, and we wouldn’t exclude the possibility of seeing rain again in China, so as always we will bring the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet.

Formula 1

Williams F1 2013

WILLIAMS F1 AUSTRALIAN GP PREVIEW-

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: We had a successful winter test and are continuing to look at all the data we gathered. Following this, we have some further aero tests planned for Friday with both drivers in Australia. The results so far have been interesting and so we’ll make our final decision on Friday evening as to what we will run over the weekend. In either case, we feel we have two strong aero packages, each with their own benefits, and so the nature of the circuit and temperatures we find will dictate which package we choose.

Melbourne is a high power sensitivity circuit, more so than Spa-Francorchamps which is quite surprising. Ambient temperatures can be very high, fuel consumption is high and there is increased brake wear. The ambient temperatures in Jerez and Barcelona are very different to what we expect to find in Australia, so we’ll be looking very closely at tyre degradation during practice on Friday. Overall, we are very much looking forward to the start of the season as we have confidence in the FW35.

Pastor Maldonado: We have been working extremely hard over the winter to improve the performance of the car and we have noticed good potential in the recent tests in Barcelona. I’ve been involved with the FW35 build since the start of the project in early 2012, working with the engineers, design office and the technicians in the wind tunnel to push for improvements on all fronts. Obviously we don’t know what other teams have done and you can only learn so much during testing, but we expect to be more competitive than last year. I like street circuits so I always enjoy coming to Australia and now I just want to start the season and find out where we stand.

Valtteri Bottas: We have had a good winter at the factory and the car showed strong reliability and performance during testing. The FW35 feels like a new car in comparison to the FW34, behaving and responding differently around the track to the car I was driving on Friday mornings last year and I’m impressed with the improvements the team have made. The winter has seen me preparing hard for the demands of driving a full race which I haven’t done before in Formula One. However, I’ve always done a lot of fitness training and have driven a lot of miles over the past few years with the team, so I’m feeling fully prepared. The first Grand Prix of my career is a big thing for me and I can’t wait for the lights to go out in Melbourne and see how the FW35 performs against the competition.

Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: We are looking forward to this season, the final year of the V8. With no evolution of the engine regulations we have been able to fully focus on optimizing our existing systems and achieving zero faults. Albert Park is a tough place to start the season as it represents a hard challenge for engines. The average speed is towards the top of the table, while the percentage of the lap spent at full throttle is also one of the highest of the season. The short bursts of power between corners put the internals under intense pressure, while greatly increasing fuel consumption; in fact the fuel consumption per 100km is the second highest of the year.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re bringing the P Zero White medium tyres and P Zero Red Supersoft to Australia: the first time that we have nominated this particular combination for Melbourne. We’ve deliberately gone for a more extreme tyre choice than last year that delivers extra performance, but this should still result in between two and three pit stops per car: our target for the year. There was quite a lot of degradation in testing, but this will be reduced once we get to the warmer conditions of Melbourne, where the tyres should be operating within their intended working range. Albert Park is a temporary venue, so we would expect to find a very slippery and ‘green’ surface when we arrive, but the grip level will improve considerably once the track begins to rubber in over the course of the weekend.

F1Weekly podcast # 618

2013 Official Photos

F1WEEKLY PODCAST NUMBER 618 CLARK AND NASIR DISCUSS JEREZ TESTING AND THE BRAZIER REPORT. AND THE WILLIAMS F1 TEAM LAUNCHES WILLIAMS RENAULT FW35

19 February 2013. Barcelona, Spain. The Williams F1 Team launched its 2013 race car the FW35, at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain today. The latest Williams is a culmination of more than 12 months’ research and development by the team’s technical departments in Grove and features improvements in several key areas over last year’s race-winning FW34.

“Given the rule stability over the winter,” says Williams Technical Director Mike Coughlan, “I’m pleased with the gains that we’ve been able to make with this car. It’s a better, more refined Formula One car than the FW34 and I think everyone involved in the project can feel proud of the work they’ve done.”

Despite being an evolution of 2012’s car, more than 80 per cent of the FW35 is new. It has a new gearbox, new rear suspension, new radiators, a new floor, new exhausts, new bodywork, a new nose and a significant amount of weight has been saved as well.

With many new parts on the car, the team has carried out a lot of reliability work over the winter. The gearbox alone has already completed 3200kms on the dyno, a lot of which was conducted in the form of five straight Grand Prix weekends.

Today’s unveiling of the FW35, however, with its drivers Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas is only the beginning. From here the car will continue to be developed throughout the year, beginning with an aerodynamic upgrade in time for the first race. By season’s end it is expected that the FW35 will have made strong performance improvements and Coughlan is in no doubt over the main area of gain.

“The Coanda effect is going to be a big thing for us,” Coughlan says. “There’s been no rule clarification concerning this area of the car, so we’ll work closely with Renault to maximise the available gains. Use of the DRS is more restricted this year, so we’ll take some resource away from that and focus on other areas.”

Williams FW35 side

Frank Williams, Team Principal added: “A group of talented people with good imagination and plenty of courage have been working together to build the Williams Renault FW35.  We will have to wait until Australia to truly see what we have, but we believe it is step forward from last year’s car which was also a very competitive vehicle. Pastor is a delightful character who is a massively determined racer, whilst Valtteri is quieter but still waters run deep and he is a highly gifted driver.

“Williams has been at the top many times over the last 30 years. It’s the nature of the sport to have ups and downs, but when we are down we always fight our way back. I’m hoping that with the current team we have in place, our new FW35, the combined talent of Pastor, Valtteri and Susie, and the continued support from our partners; we will be in a position to challenge the very best.”

Pastor Maldonado: “Starting my third season with Williams is important for both myself and the team.  We’ve been working hard to develop the car and improve our performance. Last year we won a race and were competitive, but this season we must be even more competitive which I believe is possible. Consistency will be our aim to close the gap to the teams in front. There are a number of changes this season; I have a new Race Engineer and a new teammate in Valtteri, but there is a nice atmosphere right now as we are all competitive and know each other well. Being part of the Williams family is very special as a driver and I want to thank Frank for not only giving me the opportunity to drive for him, but also to deliver a win. My goal is to help take the team back to the top.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It feels great to now be promoted to race driver with Williams this season. It’s a big step and I’m really looking forward to it. I have been doing a lot of training, meeting with my engineers and working in the simulator in preparation; so I feel ready. We know we have improved our car from last season but I am looking forward to seeing how it compares on track. We have a busy test programme ahead but I’m really excited. The moment the start lights go out in Melbourne is a moment I have been building towards my whole career.”

Susie Wolff: “I’m incredibly proud and excited to have increased my role with Williams this year. It’s been a busy start for me as we awaited the arrival of the FW35 but I highly rate Mike Coughlan and his team and they have done a great job. Being the first to get behind the wheel of the FW35 at Idiada was a real honour. It was a special feeling to drive the FW35 out of the garage for the first time and successfully complete its first kilometres in front of many of the team who have put so much effort into the design and build.”

The team has eight days of on-track testing in Barcelona scheduled with the new car, prior to leaving for the Australian Grand Prix at the beginning of March.

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/02-19-13f1weekly618.mp3]

Formula 1

Q&A WITH VALTTERI BOTTAS
Q: You’ve been part of Williams since joining the team as a test driver in 2010, how does it feel to finally be race driver for the team?
VB: It feels incredible to be driving in Formula One next season and to be with a team like Williams, with all its pedigree, is even more special. I’ve worked hard to get here ever since I started karting at six years old, but the real work starts now as I prepare myself for the biggest challenge of my career. The fact that I’ve been with Williams since 2010 will help a lot though because I know the engineers really well and have a good working relationship with them.

Q: What are your objectives for the 2013 season?
VB: It’s difficult to set objectives before the season starts, so I’m just trying to make the most of this opportunity to prove the team has been right to promote me to a race seat. I want to look back on 2013 and feel that I’ve improved as a driver and helped the team improve its performance on the track.

Q: After being GP3 Champion in 2011, you spent last season out of racing focusing on your Reserve Driver role at Williams, how much will that effect you?
VB: I’m a naturally very competitive person and I’ve been competing in triathlons throughout 2012 to keep fit and keep my mind sharp. Obviously I’ve missed racing a great deal so can’t wait to get back onto a starting grid, but I’ve been racing constantly since a very young age so when the lights go out in Australia It will be business as usual.

Q: What do you make of your now team mate, Pastor Maldonado?
VB: Pastor showed at a number of tracks in 2012 that he’s very quick and the win in Barcelona showed that he can cope well with pressure. We get on well off the track as we’ve spent a lot of time together travelling to the various races, and I’ll certainly benefit and learn from his greater experience.

Q: How much of an advantage is it to know the engineers, team and Williams procedures so well already?
VB: I’ve been part of the Williams family since the start of 2010 and feel very at home both at Grove and at the track. I know my engineers very well so we already know how to get the best performance from each other. I also live in the UK and last year moved just down the road from the factory so I am there quite a lot and know everyone well. Because of that we can focus immediately on the 2013 season and what we can achieve together.

Q: How much will the 15 FP1 sessions you drove in 2012 help you moving forward?
VB: This will be a big help as it means there are only a handful of circuits on the 2013 calendar that I have never driven, in Australia, Monaco, Valencia, Austin and Singapore. There will still be a lot of work to do but it means that I do have some knowledge to work from heading to most races next season.

Q: Williams Executive Director, Toto Wolff is part of your management team. How much was he involved in the decision to promote you to race driver?
VB: Toto is part of my management team and has always supported by career, but because of his involvement with Williams he wasn’t part of the negotiations for my contract with the team. As with all decisions at Williams, Sir Frank and the Board of Directors get to make the final decision. I’m grateful to Toto for helping introduce me to the Williams F1 Team, but it has been up to me to prove to Frank and the rest of the team that I have the talent and commitment to deliver the results they desire.

Q: What do you think it means for Finland to have another F1 driver on the grid?
VB: Hopefully they are proud to have another Finnish driver in Formula One and I hope to get a lot of support from the Finnish fans who have always been very good to me. To have another Finnish flag on the car next year will be very special.

Q: You have considerable support from Finland, can you tell us about that?
VB: I’ve had a lot of support from back home, starting way back in karting and since then I have been lucky to have been supported by some great Finnish companies. Without this sort of backing I would not be where I am today, so I’m very grateful and hopefully I can taste success with Williams and pay back those who have helped me get to Formula One.

Q: Fast forward to this time next year, what achievements would you be happy with?
VB: As a team I think we should be aiming to score more points than this year and really get the most out of the car. Personally I hope to look back and feel that I have learnt a lot and developed as a driver over the course of the season, having scored a lot of points for the team.