Australian GP: Williams preview

The Event The WilliamsF1 Team travels to Australia this week for the third round of the Formula One season, the Australian Grand Prix. Moved from its traditional slot as the season's opening race to allow for the Commonwealth Games, the Australian ...

Australian GP: Williams preview
Listen to this article

The Event

The WilliamsF1 Team travels to Australia this week for the third round of the Formula One season, the Australian Grand Prix. Moved from its traditional slot as the season's opening race to allow for the Commonwealth Games, the Australian Grand Prix will, for the eleventh time, be held at the picturesque Albert Park circuit in the heart of Victoria's capital, Melbourne.

Despite showing good race pace, the team encountered mixed fortunes in Bahrain and Malaysia and is seeking a more reflective result in Melbourne this Sunday. Having secured seven podium finishes at Albert Park since the Grand Prix moved from Adelaide in 1996, the team is determined to field competitive FW28s for Mark Webber's home race and Nico Rosberg's debut at the Melbourne street circuit.

Between the races

The Australian Grand Prix will be the final leg of a continuous three race tour for the team before returning home for the start of the European season. The majority of Williams personnel travelled straight to Australia after the Malaysian Grand Prix, while the drivers completed various marketing commitments for the team's sponsors.

Nico Rosberg stopped over in Singapore last Tuesday for a dinner with regional representatives from the Royal Bank of Scotland before heading straight to Melbourne a few days early to settle into the time difference. Mark Webber has also been working hard, starting his trip home with a visit to Tasmania to promote the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge, his personal adventure race which takes place on the Antipodean island after the end of the racing season.

Next stop Sydney and a photoshoot for the team's shaving partner, Philips, followed by a VIP track day for RBS at the weekend. Mark flies into Melbourne later this week but, before he can concentrate on the racing, he will be guest of honour at a store opening for Mattel.

Making the car go fast

The team returned to the test track after the Malaysian Grand Prix with Alex Wurz and Narain Karthikeyan assuming testing responsibilities in Valencia. Developing race specifications for Melbourne, the pair covered over 1,000kms of the Spanish circuit while evaluating optimum tyre compounds for lower temperature conditions and various revised mechanical components as well as validating fixes for the two mechanical failures encountered in Malaysia.

The team is confident that the source of both the engine and hydraulic maladies at Sepang have been identified and rectified. Wurz and Karthikeyan also ran brake checks and put the miles on new parts brought by Cosworth for the CA2006 as part of their on-going development programme.

Melbourne from a technical perspective

A non-permanent street circuit, the drivers will face a green and dirty track for Friday's practice sessions prompting low grip levels on a circuit with minimal run off areas. Fortunately, however, conditions improve rapidly over the weekend as the cars continue to lay rubber with every trip out of the garage.

At 5.303km, a lap of Albert Park is one of the longest on the calendar and comprises a strenuous mix of short straights and 16 slow and medium speed corners. A high downforce configuration, Melbourne demands a balanced car set-up with good traction control and stability under braking. Webber and Rosberg will both enjoy new engines in Melbourne, which can only be a benefit at a track where torque, rather than top end speed, is rewarded.

Mark Webber:

"The Australian Grand Prix is always a special fixture on the F1 calendar because there's a tremendous atmosphere at Albert Park. It is also probably one of the best organised Grands Prix of the season. Of course, it's particularly rewarding for me to drive in front of my home fans and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the weekend will unfold. Melbourne has finished staging a very successful Commonwealth Games so there's already a big buzz around the city and an exciting Grand Prix will be a fantastic way to top off the past few weeks."

"The recent pace of the FW28 has been encouraging and, although we had a double retirement in Malaysia which was a big shame, there's no question we'd like a big points haul in Melbourne. With the race a month later than normal this year, the weather could be a lot cooler, and potentially quite inconsistent, so that could be a factor as well."

"I'm more than ready for the race weekend and I've been in Australia for over a week now and spent a great few days down in Tasmania working on the Mark Webber Challenge which we launched in Melbourne on Tuesday. I was able to do some trekking, cycling and paddling in a kayak in some of the most spectacular and remote locations in the world. It was awesome!"

Nico Rosberg:

"I'm looking forward to Melbourne and continuing our strong performance. I haven't been before, but I've heard that Melbourne is a lot of fun so it's going to be good. The cooler temperatures will be a bit of a change from what we've experienced at the last two races, but I believe that we have made some improvements in order to be just as strong in cooler conditions."

-williams-

shares
comments
Proposals for engine homologation
Previous article

Proposals for engine homologation

Next article

GPMA teams submit entries for 2008

GPMA teams submit entries for 2008
Load comments
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022