Interview with Williams' Mark Gillan
13 June 2012 – Williams failed to score in Canada, with Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna crossing the finish line in 13th and 17th places. Chief Operation Engineer Mark Gillan explains where the Grove team can improve and how things are shaping up ahead of Valencia.
Due to a couple of accidents and a grid penalty for Pastor, we never got to see the true pace of the Williams-Renault FW34 in Montreal. What was the car capable of around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
We had decent high fuel long-run pace on Friday and Pastor was pretty quick in Saturday's morning session on lower fuel too, so we were reasonably confident going into qualifying. Both drivers had accidents that damaged their gearboxes and, as Pastor's was his race box in qualifying, he took a five-place grid penalty going into the race. Both drivers pushed hard on their one-stop strategies but we were ultimately not as competitive as we have been recently, which made progress through the pack not as easy as we would have hoped for. Nevertheless, we will spend a great deal of effort dissecting the data from the weekend, especially the effect that the large changes in track temperature and track evolution had on the tyre performance, and how best in future to react accordingly.
How did the performance upgrades that you took to the race perform?
The Montreal aero upgrades performed as we had expected and were run on both cars.
How much was Bruno's weekend compromised by his accident during Friday practice?
Both of Bruno's Friday sessions had issues, with the first session being compromised by not being able to use his DRS system and in the second session he had an accident which damaged three corners on the car, the front and rear wings and the gearbox. The mechanics worked very hard on Friday evening to rebuild the car and we had enough spares to ensure that his car remained to the latest specification and was ready for the beginning of the Saturday morning session.
It was a tight call between one and two pit-stops during the race. In hindsight, which was the best strategy?
Given our start positions, we were happy with the one-stop strategy, but need to look at how we managed the tyres during the stints to see if we could have been quicker.
Montreal is notoriously hard on brakes. Did you have any brake wear issues on either car?
Montreal is very tough on brakes but our brake material and cooling solutions worked well, so the brakes were not a major issue during the race.
The European Grand Prix comes next. What are the main challenges of the Valencia street circuit?
In a similar manner to Montreal, the Valencia circuit layout places a lot of stress on the braking system. Also, with the potential for high ambient temperatures, the car's cooling system is given a stern test.
Interview provided by the Williams F1 press office