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Monaco GP: Williams determined to make progress, new updates for Monaco


By Berthold Bouman

Monaco GP: Williams determined to make progress, new updates for MonacoAfter another disastrous weekend in Spain, Williams are determined to get the so much-needed performance out of the 2013 contender, the Williams FW35. The Monaco Grand Prix, round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship, is always a special Grand Prix, and there is no room for errors on the tight and twisty street circuit.

Mike Coughlan: The grip levels change the whole weekend

Technical Director Mike Coughlan is aware of the problems Williams have encountered this season, but is determined the extract the maximum out of the car he has designed. “Monaco may be one of the shortest tracks of the year, but it’s the most demanding, especially for the driver. Although the corner speeds are the slowest on the calendar, you have to use as much of the track as possible and the closer the driver can put his car to the barriers the faster he will go,” Coughlan said about the famous circuit.

And he further explained, “As it is a street circuit the grip levels change the whole weekend so it’s important to give the drivers as much time on-track as possible in order for them to gain confidence, particularly for Valtteri who has never driven here before. Due to the bumpy nature of the track, a good mechanical platform is required. We need to raise the ride-height and increase the steering angle capacity for the tight, twisting corners. We also run with maximum downforce there.”

Pastor Maldonado - Photo: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado – Photo: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado: Monaco is a very difficult challenge

Pastor Maldonado knows the circuit well and said about this weekend’s challenges, “I always look forward to this race as I feel very comfortable driving the circuit. You can also feel the history of Formula One as you drive through the streets and tackle some of the really famous corners. Monaco is a very difficult challenge, both mentally and physically, as you have to try and find the limits of the car with no margin for error if you push too hard.”

The Venezuelan driver reckons qualifying and the right tyre choice are important this weekend, “Qualifying will be very important at this race and is probably 70% of the weekend because overtaking is so difficult and risky. Tyre strategy and tyre management is important as you always use the softer compound of tyres in Monaco and they are very sensitive this year.”

Valtteri Bottas - Photo: Williams F1

Valtteri Bottas – Photo: Williams F1

Valtteri Bottas: The most challenging race on the calendar

Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas is looking forward to the event, but has never raced on the street circuit. “This will be my first time racing in Monaco and I’m really looking forward to it because it’s such an iconic track. It’s definitely the most challenging race on the calendar for the drivers, being an old school street circuit with no room for mistakes and I’m looking forward to the challenge of being on the limit at all times while being so close to the walls,” said Bottas.

He too, thinks the tyres are the most important factor this season, and said, “In the past tyre wear in Monaco has been quite minimal, but with Pirelli bringing the softs and super softs to this race the tyre degradation may be more of a factor, although less than we saw in Bahrain and Barcelona.”

Williams are currently ninth in the Constructors’ Championship as they have not scored one single point this season, Bottas and Maldonado are 17th and 18th in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

• Red Bull Monaco GP Preview
• Ferrari Monaco GP Preview
McLaren Monaco GP Preview
• Lotus Monaco GP Preview
Mercedes Monaco GP Preview
Sauber Monaco GP Preview
Force India Monaco GP Preview
Williams Monaco GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Monaco GP Preview
Caterham Monaco GP Preview
Marussia Monaco GP Preview

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Spanish GP: Williams looking forward to race at Barcelona again


By Berthold Bouman

Spanish GP: Williams looking forward to race at Barcelona againOf course, Williams have fond memories of the Spanish Grand Prix, as Pastor Maldonado won the event in 2012, and gave Williams the first victory since 2004. But there was also drama as a fire broke out in the Williams garage while the team was celebrating their victory.

Mike Coughlan: Track conditions can change a lot

Technical Director Mike Coughlan commented about the track, “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.”

Williams too, will bring updates for the car to Barcelona and Coughlan said, “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 - Photo: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado – Photo: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado: The track can be quite hard on tyres

Of course, Maldonado is happy to return to the circuit where he scored his maiden Formula One win, but he is more concerned about the tyres, as the track’s surface will change during the three days. “All the drivers know the track very well and we have some good data from testing here earlier in the year, but the track changes quite a lot so you still need to familiarise yourself with the conditions during practice and set up the car accordingly,” said Maldonado.

The tyre choice will also be important according to the Venezuelan driver, ”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 - Photo: Williams F1

Valtteri Bottas – Photo: Williams F1

Valtteri Bottas: The win last year was a big motivational boost

Although he never raced a Formula One car on the Spanish track, Valtteri Bottas does know the track well from his Formula Renault and Formula Three days, and the young Finn said about this weekend’s challenge, “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.“

And he added, “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.”

Despite their efforts, Williams still has to score their first points of the season, the Grove-based outfit is ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, Bottas and Maldonado are 16th and 17th respectively.

Also read:

Red Bull Spanish GP Preview
Ferrari Spanish GP Preview
McLaren Spanish GP Preview
Lotus Spanish GP Preview
Mercedes Spanish GP Preview
Sauber Spanish GP Preview
Force India Spanish GP Preview
Williams Spanish GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Spanish GP Preview
Caterham Spanish GP Preview
Marussia Spanish GP Preview


Bahrain GP: Williams hoping to be more competitive, disappointed to not have scored points


By Berthold Bouman

Bahrain GP: Williams hoping to be more competitive, disappointed to not have scored pointsNot a very good start of the season for Williams: two retirements, and no points scored. Williams is getting ready for round four of the FIA Formula One World Championship: The Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit, near Manama.

Mike Coughlan: It has been disappointing not to score points

Williams Technical Director Mike Coughlan admitted the new car is not fast enough, but he is confident the car suits the Bahrain circuit better, “We feel that the current car, whilst not as competitive as we would like, will be more competitive in Bahrain.“ And he added, “It’s been disappointing not to score points in our first three races, but we can be pleased with the fact that Valtteri [Bottas] has managed to bring the car home in every race so far with very solid drives.”

But Bahrain is a tough circuit according to Coughlan, “Bahrain is a circuit that has some key characteristics that will present new challenges for the teams. It’s a high braking circuit so brake wear will be a factor, it is tough on rear tyres and it has a high ambient temperature. For engines it is a high power, high-efficiency circuit that places a premium on straight line speed and the Renault engine should be robust at this sort of circuit.”

Two retirements for Maldonado - Photo: Williams F1

Two retirements for Maldonado – Photo: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado: Track conditions can change quite a lot during the weekend

Pastor Maldonado is looking forward to another challenging race and commented, “Because the Sakhir circuit is in the desert the track conditions can change quite a lot during the weekend, especially with the sand being blown across the surface, so the teams will have to be ready to react to the different conditions.”

“Tyre degradation is also expected to be quite high at this race which can always throw up some interesting challenges for the teams,” the Venezuelan added.

Williams hoping to be more competitive - Photo: Williams F1

Williams hoping to be more competitive – Photo: Williams F1

Valtteri Bottas: We need to try and find a good car set-up

Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas had a busy start this season, but the rookie is learning fast. “It’s been a very busy start to my career with two back to back races in a row, but it has meant that I have had a lot of time in the car and the chance to try and understand its characteristics.”

He thinks the tyres will be an important factor during the race, “The tyres tend to drop off quite a lot at this circuit so in Friday practice we need to try and find a good car set-up to maximise the long run performance for the race so we can keep the tyres alive longer than others.”

Williams is currently ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, while Bottas is 16th, and Maldonado 20th in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

Red Bull Bahrain GP Preview
Ferrari Bahrain GP Preview
McLaren Bahrain GP Preview
Lotus Bahrain GP Preview
Mercedes Bahrain GP Preview
Sauber Bahrain GP Preview
Force India Bahrain GP Preview
Williams Bahrain GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Bahrain GP Preview
Caterham Bahrain GP Preview
Marussia Bahrain GP Preview


Chinese GP: Williams expects more favourable conditions in Shanghai


By Berthold Bouman

Chinese GP: Williams expects more favourable conditions in Shanghai - Photo: Williams F1Last year Williams made a rocket start during the first few races of the season — they won the Spanish Grand Prix, this year the Grove-based team has been confronted with many problems, and the new 2013 contender, the Williams FW35, seems to suffer from a chronic lack of speed.

Mike Coughlan: We have a better understanding of where we are

Technical Director Mike Coughlan is aware of the problems and said, “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.”

But he’s expecting cooler weather, and that might help the British team, and Coughlan said, “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.”

Two retirements in two races for Maldonado - Photo: Williams F1

Two retirements in two races for Maldonado – Photo: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado: This can be quite an unpredictable race

Driver Pastor Maldonado knows the circuit well, and reckons the race will be a real challenge for him, “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.”

And he added, “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 - Photo: Williams F1

Valtteri Bottas – Photo: Williams F1

Valtteri Bottas: Getting the tyres to work will be the biggest challenge

Valtteri Bottas knows the circuit from free practice last year, but has never completed a race in a Formula One car on the Shanghai track. “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,” said Bottas.

The Finn thinks the tyres are the key to success, “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.”

Williams is currently ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, while Bottas is fifteenth, and Maldonado, as he retired from the first two races, is 22nd and last in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

Red Bull Chinese GP Preview
• Ferrari Chinese GP Preview
McLaren Chinese GP Preview
Lotus Chinese GP Preview
Mercedes Chinese GP Preview
Sauber Chinese GP Preview
Force India Chinese GP Preview
Williams Chinese GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Chinese GP Preview
Caterham Chinese GP Preview
Marussia Chinese GP Preview


Malaysian GP: Williams aim to score points with both cars


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Williams aim to score points with both cars - Photo: Williams F1A miserable start of the season for Williams, Pastor Maldonado retired from the Australian Grand Prix after 24 laps, while rookie Valtteri Bottas eased the pain just a little bit by finishing his first Formula One race in 14th position. After a disastrous qualifying, Maldonado said the FW35 was ‘undriveable’, and the Venezuelan even feared a repeat of the 2011 campaign.

Technical Director Mike Coughlan: Working hard to solve the problems

“Following a difficult opening to the season in Australia, the team has regrouped and been working hard to solve the problems we encountered last weekend,” said Williams Technical Director Mike Coughlan. “We have a good idea where to focus our efforts and learnt a lot in Melbourne which we will implement in Malaysia to continue working to improve the performance of the FW35 throughout Friday testing and into the weekend,” the Briton added.

Asked about the goals for the Malaysian Grand Prix Coughlan said, “Our aim is to move forward from where we were last weekend, with a view to end the race with both cars in points-scoring positions.”

Valtteri Bottas - Photo: WiIliams F1

Valtteri Bottas – Photo: WiIliams F1

Pastor Maldonado: The weather conditions can change in an instant

Maldonado has put the Australian Grand Prix behind him, and is ready to tackle the next challenge, the Malaysian Grand Prix. “I had a disappointing Australian Grand Prix and the car isn’t quite where we hoped it would be, but we will be working hard to unlock the potential that we saw in testing.”

But it won’t be a walk in the park he warned, “Malaysia is one of my favourite circuits and it’s also one of the most challenging, testing your skill and concentration towards the end of the race as the heat takes its toll on you physically.”

About the Malaysian weather he remarked, “The weather conditions can change in an instant and in the last couple of years the weather has gone from 40 degree heat to thunderstorms and heavy rain, with extreme changes in track temperature as well.”

Valtteri Bottas: Looking to improve on performance

Bottas also thinks the weather and humidity will be the biggest challenge this weekend. But he also hopes to improve on his performance, although 14th place in Melbourne wasn’t too bad for a rookie.

“I learnt a lot from my first Grand Prix in Australia and whilst we weren’t as competitive as we had hoped, the fact that I brought the car home safely in my first race is a positive I can take away and we will now be looking to improve on our performance for this race,” said the Finn.

He also expect problems with the new Pirelli tyres, “Last year was very difficult because we had hot humid track temperatures combined with a series of rain showers. The fast corners in the second sector of the track are the most challenging because it’s really hot for the tyres and in these high temperatures you need to be careful not to degrade them too quickly.”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview


Australian GP: Williams to test new aero packages at Melbourne


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP Williams to test new aero packages at Melbourne - Photo: Williams F1The Williams team is also ready for round one of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit. Williams replaced Bruno Senna with the talented young Valtteri Bottas, who will make his Grand Prix debut this weekend.

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: New aero packages for season opener

Williams’ technical Director Mike Coughlan was pleased with winter testing, but has already planned to test two new aero packages on Friday. “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.”

Williams is concentrating on the Pirelli tyres this weekend, and Coughlan said, “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 and Valtteri Bottas - Photo: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas – Photo: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado: We expect to be more competitive

Pastor Maldonado is confident the Williams FW35 will perform well this season, “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.”

About the development of the car he commented, “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.”

He expects to be more competitive this season, “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: Car showed strong reliability

Rookie Valtteri Bottas is optimistic ahead of his first Grand Prix, “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 Finn thinks he’s well-prepared for the physical demands of Formula One, “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.”

Also read:

Red Bull Australian GP Preview
Ferrari Australian GP Preview
McLaren Australian GP Preview
Lotus Australian GP Preview
Mercedes Australian GP Preview
Sauber Australian GP Preview
Force India Australian GP Preview
Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
Caterham Australian GP Preview
Marussia Australian GP Preview


Williams launches FW35 – team to maximise gains of Coanda effect


By Berthold Bouman

Williams launches FW35 - team to maximise gains of Coanda effect - Photo: Williams F1Williams was the last team to launch their 2013 contender at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spain, today. The FW35 is an evolution of its predecessor, but according to a statement, it has a new gearbox, new rear suspension, new radiators, a new floor, new exhausts, new bodywork, a new nose, and the car is a lot lighter as well.

As there have not been any significant regulation changes, Williams Technical Director Mike Coughlan has had a relatively easy job. “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,” said Coughlan.

Coughlan also said Williams will during the season explore the benefits of the Coanda effect. “The Coanda effect is going to be a big thing for us,” he said, and added, “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.”

Sir Frank Williams was proud to present his new car, but was cautious about the expectations of the 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.”

He nevertheless remained optimistic about the forthcoming season, “I’m hoping that with the current team we have in place, our new FW35, the combined talent of Pastor [Maldonado], Valtteri [Bottas] and Susie [Wolff], and the continued support from our partners; we will be in a position to challenge the very best.”

All Photos: Williams F1

Pastor Maldonado is ready for his third season with the British outfit, and he’s confident the FW35 will be competitive, and even thinks about winning more races, “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.”

And he added, “Being part of the Williams family is very special as a driver and I want to thank Frank [Williams] 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.”

Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will make his Formula One debut this season, and he’s looking forward to his first Grand Prix for Williams. “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,” he said, adding, “The moment the start lights go out in Melbourne is a moment I have been building towards my whole career.”

Development driver Susie Wolff is actually the only one who has already had a taste of what the FW35 is like before the official launch, as she did the initial shake-down at Idiada. “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,” she commented.

Today is the first day of, in total, eight days of testing at the Barcelona circuit, the first four days are scheduled for this week, the next and final four days of testing take place from February 28 to March 3.


Formula One 2013 driver line-up almost complete, two vacancies left


By Berthold Bouman

Formula One 2013 driver line-up almost complete, two vacancies leftWith less than four weeks to go before pre-season testing starts at Jerez, Spain, the 2013 driver line-up is almost complete, only Caterham and Force India both have still one vacancy. It is certainly not easy to get into Formula One, but staying there is almost as difficult, as Swiss media reported Sebastien Buemi will again sign as Red Bull’s test and reserve driver after being ousted from Red Bull’s Italian sister team, Toro Rosso, in 2011.

It is highly likely it is all over for the Spanish HRT team, according to veteran driver Pedro de la Rosa, and therefore only 22 drivers will be on the grid when the season kicks off in Melbourne, Australia, on March 17.

Red Bull Racing

After winning his third consecutive title Sebastian Vettel is confirmed for 2013, while Mark Webber will be the number two driver for the Austrian team, as he recently signed a one-year contract. The pair will drive for the successful team for the fifth consecutive year, but team advisor Helmut Marko is not happy with Webber’s last year’s achievements and has threatened to dump him next year.

Ferrari

Of course championship runner-up Fernando Alonso will stay with the Maranello-based team, he has a contract until 2016. Not much to choose, and also not much to lose either is what Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo must have thought when he signed Felipe Massa for another year. Massa had a bad start of the 2012 season, but wrestled his way back into contention during the second half of the season, and helped Ferrari to clinch second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Fernando Alonso - Photo: Ferrari

McLaren

After many mechanical failures, bad pit stops and other disappointments, Lewis Hamilton left the team he grew up with and Jenson Button is now the number one driver, at least for this season. Sergio Perez will drive alongside the Briton, but whether the Mexican driver, who started his career at Sauber, is up to the job remains to be seen. Although he can be very fast, he lacks some experience and often makes mistakes that cost him dearly.

(more…)


Valtteri Bottas excited about new Williams role, aims to score points in 2013


By Berthold Bouman

Valtteri Bottas, Williams - Photo: Williams F1Valtteri Bottas will replace Bruno Senna in 2013, Williams announced this morning, and for the young Finn it is a dream come true. The 23-year old driver had already joined Williams in 2010 and became the official test and reserve driver for the Grove-based outfit, and has participated in 15 Friday morning practice sessions this season, and Bottas is now ready for his new role as race driver.

The talented Finn has an impressive race C.V., he won the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and NEC series with team Motopark Academy in 2008, won the Masters of Formula Three in 2009 and 2010, and won the GP3 series in 2011 for Lotus ART.

Bottas already has shown he is fast in the Williams, as he several times out-paced regular drivers Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado. Asked how participating in the free practice sessions has helped him to prepare for his new job as race driver he said, “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.”

However, being a test driver, Bottas missed racing this year, “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.”

Now his dream has finally come true, how does he feel about his new role at Williams? “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.”

Valtteri Bottas, Williams - Photo: Williams F1

Bottas aims to score points for Williams in 2013

Of course he now knows all the Williams engineers, and he thinks this will be a benefit next year, “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.”

And he added, “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.”

Asked about his objectives for 2012 he said, “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.”

And the young driver is even aiming to score some points in 2013, “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!”

Bottas aims to score points in 2013


Williams confirm Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas for 2013


By Berthold Bouman

Pastor Maldonado, Williams - Photo: Williams F1The Williams Formula One team announced this morning they have signed Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas for 2013, which means another piece in the 2013 driver line-up puzzle has fallen into its place. It will be the third season for Venezuelan Maldonado, while Bottas, until now test and reserve driver, has been promoted to race driver.

Maldonado, who won the Spanish Grand Prix this season and gave the Williams team a victory eight years after Juan Pablo Montoya won the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, commented on his contract renewal, “I’m really enjoying my time with Williams and I was obviously very happy when I was told that I would be continuing with the team in 2013.”

Looking back at the 2012 season he said, “2012 was a memorable year for me with the win in Barcelona and we made a big step forward in terms of performance. I have a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully next year will see us move even further up the grid and taste more success.”

Asked about his objectives for 2013 he said, “The goal is to be more competitive next year and have a car that is consistently in the points and challenging for podiums. This year we showed excellent pace at a number of tracks such as Barcelona, Monaco and Abu Dhabi, but we didn’t have the consistency to maintain that at every Grand Prix. We have all the tools needed to push the top teams, and hopefully we can learn from this year and move further up the field.”

Valtteri Bottas replaces Bruno Senna at Williams

Bottas, who has done a more than average job during this year’s Friday’s first free practice sessions as he regularly beat Bruno Senna and Maldonado, is of course looking forward to the 2013 season. “It has always been my life-long dream to compete in the Formula One World Championship,” the Finn said.

For him, the Williams team is a great place to start his Formula One career, “To do so with one of the most legendary teams in the sport is incredibly special. I’ve really enjoyed my three years with Williams so far and feel very at home here so my goal was always to stay for 2013 and progress to a race seat. I’m looking forward to getting my Formula One career started and enjoying a lot of success with Williams.”

Team owner Sir Frank Williams is happy with his driver line-up for 2013 and said, “In Pastor and Valtteri we have two of the most exciting talents in motor racing and I am especially excited about what 2013 can bring for Williams.” And he added, “Pastor has always demonstrated remarkable pace and this year has seen him mature as a racing driver. Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future.”

The announcement is bad news for Bruno Senna, but Williams wished him the best of luck, “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our departing driver Bruno Senna for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best of luck going forward.’’


Bottas again leads the way on final day of Young Driver Test


By Berthold Bouman

Williams test and reserve driver Valtteri Bottas again topped the time sheets today at a dry Silverstone circuit. Yesterday the Finn completed 120 laps on the Grand Prix configuration of the track, today he completed 170 laps on the shorter International circuit configuration of Silverstone.

Bottas again fastest at final day of Young Driver Test

Bottas lapped the circuit in 48.963 seconds, second was Marussia’s Max Chilton who posted a fastest time of 49.932s, third was second Marussia driver 19-year old Rio Haryanto with a time of 50.405s.

Bottas said about his second day of testing, “It was another successful day today for the team, with a trouble-free performance and no problems with the car. It was useful to get some longer runs in again today and it was good for me to get a better understanding of the tyres, and how the team works.”

After technical problems hampered Marussia’s testing yesterday, both Chilton and Haryanto today concentrated on gaining enough mileage to obtain a FIA Super License, necessary to drive a Formula One car during an official Formula One event.

With this license both drivers are allowed to take part in the usual Friday and Saturday free practice sessions. Haryanto completed 79 laps during the morning, while Chilton completed 52 laps in the afternoon.

Chilton was positive about his two days of testing, “I’m heading home feeling very happy with how the two days have gone for me. We’ve been particularly lucky as, given the weather in England at the moment, I managed to get two half days of dry running. It has been a fantastic experience and I can’t thank the team enough for the experience and support.”

Haryanto was pleased with the progress he made in the Marussia MR01, “The programme was not easy, and there were a lot of new and different things to learn. The team pushed me hard, but this is what I need to be able to show my potential. We also got a lot of work done for the team to prepare for the next Grand Prix.”

Team Principal John Booth commented, “I have thoroughly enjoyed spending the past two days here at Silverstone keeping a close eye on our two young drivers and I have been very impressed with what I have seen of Max and Rio.”

He was also pleased about the performance of the Marussia team, “From a team perspective we have also been able to mix things up a little in terms of the different roles, swapping a few of the engineers and mechanics around to give them a chance to shine and advance themselves. Everyone has pulled together to make this test a real success, so well done to all on what has been another important chapter in our Young Driver Programme.”

HRT didn’t participate in the second day of the Young Driver Test and instead went home to their factory in Madrid, preparing for the German Grand Prix on July 22, which this year will take place at the Hockenheimring.


Bottas on top of Silverstone Thursday Young Driver Test


By Berthold Bouman

Unfortunately for all young drivers hoping to once make it into Formula One, this year’s Young Driver Test has become a sort of farce, as only HRT, Williams and Marussia will be testing at Silverstone on July 12 and 13. The other teams did not wish to test at Silverstone, but will be conducting their Young Driver Test at the Yas Marina Circuit after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 4.

Valtteri Bottas was fastest in the Williams today

Driving for Williams today was Valtteri Bottas, who completed several short and long runs. However, the famous British summer struck again as it started to rain towards the end of the day. Bottas commented, “We had a little rain towards the end but tested everything we wanted to on mixed fuel levels. It’s been a really useful day for both me and the team. The shorter runs are good fun, especially on this track, but I was particularly looking forward to the longer runs. It was really useful to gather some information on how the tyres behave over the various runs and I feel that I am continuing to improve as a driver.”

Tom McCullough, Williams Race Engineer, was happy with the 22-year old Finn’s performance, “The car was reliable all day allowing us to gather lots of data for evaluation. We had a very ambitious run plan and achieved nearly everything which is a good result. Valtteri drove excellently all day, doing everything we asked of him without putting a foot wrong.”

The Spanish HRT team decided at the last moment to also test at Silverstone instead of Abu Dhabi. Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua was the lucky one to get behind of the wheel of the HRT F112, it was his first outing in a Formula One car. “It was a fantastic feeling to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time; it’s not easy to put into words what I felt. Yesterday I found it hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test,” he said.

And he further commented, “By being here during the Grand Prix, I learned a lot from my team mates and also to work as a team, as it is very important to give the right information to the engineers in order to optimise the performance of the car. In the morning we did the maximum amount of running to get used to the car, engineers and mechanics and buttons, and also to gain confidence.”

Team Principal Louis Perez-Sala stated, “We’re very happy to have given Ma this opportunity and also very satisfied and proud of how it went. We’ve got a lot of trust in him and he has responded by doing a good job. We’ve followed him for a long time and since he joined our programme he’s proven his ability and work capacity. nd today he showed it once more with an excellent job. It’s not easy to drive a Formula 1 car and he made no mistakes.”

For Marussia, Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto were in the MR01, Chilton was in the car in the morning and Haryato in the afternoon, but both experienced technical problems.

Fastest today was Bottas with a time of 1m31.436s, Chilton was second and fastest for Marussia with a lap of 1m36.558s, Haryanto third with 1m37.404s and Chinese driver Qing Hua was fourth with 1m37.829s in the HRT. Bottas completed 120 laps, Chilton 34, Haryanto 19 and Qing Hua 82.