Q&A with Sir Frank Williams
Q: 2013 WILL SEE PASTOR MALDONADO AND VALTTERI BOTTAS AS THE WILLIAMS F1 TEAM’S DRIVER LINE UP. HOW DO YOU THINK THEY WILL COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER AS DRIVERS?
FW: Both drivers are very strong in their own right and I’m excited about what they can achieve next year. Pastor has shown this season that he is one of the fastest drivers in Formula One and has put in some stellar qualifying performances. Valtteri has already shown in what little running he has had that he can be on the pace quickly, so we should have two drivers that can get the most out of our car’s undoubted potential. They are also easy to get along with, which always helps in building good relationships with the engineers and developing the car.
Q: 2013 WILL BE PASTOR MALDONADO’S THIRD SEASON FOR WILLIAMS, WHAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU MOST ABOUT HIM SINCE HE STARTED.
FW: Pastor has incredible raw pace and the ability to ring the neck of a car and find speed where others would not. He is showing more and more maturity with each race and his dominant display at the Spanish Grand Prix showed that he can handle pressure and drive a flawless race. With another season under his belt, I’m sure that next year he can confirm his position as one of the top drivers.
Q: VALTTERI BOTTAS IS REGARDED AS ONE OF THE HOTTEST PROSPECTS IN FORMULA ONE. WHAT QUALITIES DID YOU SEEN IN HIM TO MAKE THE DECISION TO PROMOTE HIM FROM TEST DRIVER TO RACING DRIVER?
FW: Valtteri has been part of the Williams family for three years now and I know that he’s thought of very highly of by our race engineers and others in the paddock. His ability to assimilate information quickly is excellent, and he has shown in 2012 during Friday practice that he can quickly get up to speed at a new track. That will be important next year because the first season is always the toughest, particularly with the caliber of the other drivers.
Q: DO YOU THINK THE FACT THAT VALTTERI HAS BEEN WITH WILLIAMS SINCE 2010 WILL BE A BIG FACTOR IN ALLOWING HIM TO SETTLE IN QUICKLY IN HIS FIRST SEASON IN FORMULA ONE?
FW: It’s definitely a big advantage. He spends a lot of time in the factory so has managed to develop good relationships and knows how we like to operate. By that token we also know how he likes to work, which is crucial as developing a car throughout the season requires good two way communication. Having a new driver who has spent three seasons testing the car and conducting extensive simulator work means that he is as prepared for his first season as you can get.
Q: HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE THE 2012 SEASON FOR WILLIAMS AS A WHOLE?
FW: The FW34 was a strong car and on the whole we feel that we should have done better with the equipment we had. Our long run pace was consistently strong and whilst we need to improve on our qualifying pace, at certain tracks we did manage to give the top teams a run for their money over a single lap. Of course the win in Spain was memorable and showed that we can produce race winning cars. The rate of progression we have shown over 2011 has been very encouraging and I’m confident that with the people we have in place, 2013 will see us move further up the grid.
Q: WHAT WOULD YOU BE SATISFIED WITH THIS TIME NEXT YEAR FROM THE WILLIAMS F1 TEAM?
FW: Making predictions is always dangerous, particularly given the unpredictable nature of the 2012 season. Nevertheless, we will be looking to build on 2012 and produce a car that can consistently finish in the points at a wide range of circuits and challenge for podiums as well.