Driver: Felipe Massa
Chassis / Engine: FW36-01 / PU106A Hybrid
Location: Jerez de la Frontera 4.428km
Objectives: New component, systems and reliability checks
Weather: Dry and sunny
Maximum air & track temps: 17ºC / 23ºC
Rod Nelson, Chief Test & Support Engineer: Today Felipe was in the car and he’s done quite a bit of work in the simulator at the factory, so it was good to get his comments on the real thing as opposed to the digital version. We got some really good feedback and have a clear direction to go in from both our drivers this week despite the slightly limited mileage. We are working through our system tests here in Jerez and are coming across a few issues which we are resolving. Overall, we are relatively happy with the progress we are making.
Felipe Massa: It was a new experience for me today. The first day with a new car is always very exciting but adding to that changing teams, all the new faces and the new place, it made it even more exciting for me. Unfortunately we didn’t do the amount of laps we wanted to do today but it’s pretty acceptable for the first days of testing considering all the rule changes with the car. The car feels very different to what we used to have in many areas. You need to understand how to drive with the engine, the chassis, the tyres and the turbo, but it’s fun! There will be a lot of improvements we can make up before the first race and throughout the championship. Performance is important but I think reliability will be a key issue to think about for the first race. I’m happy with how I have been welcomed into the team as everyone has been very kind and professional. I’m really happy and I know we have a lot of work to do to fix the little issues we have, but I think we can have a good championship together. It’s also my first experience with a different engine manufacturer and it’s been really great working with Mercedes. I’m really happy with the new power unit and the way the team work so it’s going to be interesting. Overall, I’m very happy with my first day.
Williams will be back on track tomorrow, Friday 31 January, with Felipe Massa finishing the weeks’ testing programme in the FW36 for the fourth day of the test.