Mark Gillan, Chief
We have had a productive pre-season test programme, with the
Williams-Renault FW34-RS27 completing 5,330kms, which is the most
mileage of any of the new 2012 cars. During the three tests Pastor,
Bruno and Valtteri drove exceptionally well and the two new drivers have
integrated seamlessly into the team ahead of the new season, with weekly
visits to the factory and simulator. The whole team has worked very hard
over the winter to eradicate areas where we were weaker in 2011, in
addition to integrating the new Renault Sport F1 engine, and are now
looking forward to starting the season.
The performance of the RSF1
engine has been as hoped; strong, flexible and with negligible
performance degradation throughout its life. The weather in Melbourne
can be variable, and going by the long range forecasts, this year
appears to be no exception. As this is a street circuit, one tends to
see a large track improvement through the weekend so we need to
carefully monitor the evolution of the medium and soft Pirelli tyres.
The track layout has above average corner speeds, and the race start
fuel load is higher than most circuits, which leads to a relatively hard
time on the braking system.
I am really looking forward to going to Australia. About a month after
the last race of the season you are itching to get back racing, so four
months later I really canít wait to get started. Getting into the car on
Friday will be very exciting, and I hope we can be competitive from the
very beginning. I know the Albert Park circuit, having driven there for
HRT in 2010. Iíve also had success, winning three of the four Formula
Three races supporting the Australian Grand Prix in 2006, so I have good
memories of the place. Pre-season testing was promising, but you never
know exactly what everyone is doing. It is certainly very close, so it
is going to be very tight this year.
Albert Park is a nice track. I really love that kind of street circuit,
so I hope we will have a good weekend. I know the track this year and
Iím more confident with the team and the car, so that will also help.
The whole team have been pushing so hard all winter to improve, and Iíve
also been pushing myself. Itís exciting to get back racing and to see
what speed everyone has when the weekend gets underway.
Rťmi Taffin, Head of
Renault Sport F1 Track Operations:
For Renault Sport F1, seeing a Williams-Renault on track for the first
time since 1997 was a good feeling, but it was even more satisfying to
see that the FW34 is going in the right direction. As we started the
process very early, the engine installation has been quite
straightforward and the team and drivers have been able to use the full
driveability and flexibility of the RS27 to conduct important
performance testing so that when we arrive in Australia we already have
a good platform. As always with a new engine-chassis partnership there
have been a couple of small issues, but overall we achieved a very high
mileage to validate both the engine and its installation into the
chassis. Melbourne is a hard track to start with as it has a tricky
combination of short straights, chicanes and a quick section at the back
of the track which makes fuel consumption very high, but itís also a
good one to start with as it gives every engine facet a thorough
workout. The partnership has started well and we want to watch it
develop even further over the coming races.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli
Weíre delighted to be starting our second season of Formula One, with a
completely new range of tyres. The P Zero Yellow soft and the P Zero
White medium have been nominated for Australia which each have a
completely new profile and compound. Last year, the P Zero Yellow tyre
set the fastest-ever lap of Albert Park, but coming at the start of the
year this is always one of the most unpredictable races of the season.
Being a semi-permanent facility, we would expect the track to evolve
considerably as the weekend goes on.
Practice 1: 12:30 - 14:00
Practice 2: 16:30 - 18:00
Practice 3: 14:00 - 15:00
Qualifying: 17:00 Ė 18:00
Sunday: Race: 17:00