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Williams F1 2012 Australian GP Preview

Albert Park Circuit

By Williams F1 Team
March 13 2012

After an extensive pre-season test programme the Williamns F1 team moves to Melbourne for the opening race of the 2012 Formula One season, the Australian Grand Prix. The Williams team is feeling confident that they have improved in many areas, comapred to 2011, and are looking forward to this race.

2012 Australian GP Preview
Melbourne Circuit

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer:
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.

Bruno Senna:
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.

Pastor Maldonado:
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 Motorsport Director:
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.

Race Data
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

Australian GP Statistics

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Williams F1 2012 Australian GP Preview
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13/03/2012 09:07
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