Williams denies showboating in practice
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, May 19th 2009, 12:54 GMT|
Williams director of engineer Patrick Head says his team remains comfortable with its low fuel runs in practice that have helped Nico Rosberg emerge as 'practice champion' so far this year.
The Grove-based outfit's decision to run lower levels of fuel in Friday and Saturday practice has helped Rosberg top the times more often than any other driver - even though that form has not been repeated on the rest of a grand prix weekend.
But despite the practice results having raised expectations, Head denies the team is showboating - and instead is convinced it is the right thing for Williams to do as it ensures its drivers get comfortable with the qualifying feel of their car.
"We run two levels of fuel and we do our homework," said Head about the team's form on Fridays. "Usually, and particularly with Kazuki [Nakajima] because for him qualifying is very important, we'll run a new set of tyres on a lesser level of fuel. But we never run qualifying levels of fuel.
"Other people must be running race fuel all the time. For us it's not because we want to be at the top of the timesheets, we want to give the driver a feel for what his car's going to be like at that very important time when he's trying to get through Q1 and Q2.
"So maybe we have a different programme than other people, but it's not that we're trying to kid ourselves or anybody else."
Although the Williams FW31 has shown flashes of speed this year, the team has not delivered results on the back of that promise - something Head is not overjoyed about.
Speaking about if he was happy with the start to the season, Head said: "Not at all. We had a pit stop problem in Melbourne that lost Nico 10-12 seconds.
"We almost certainly made a bad call on the pit wall with Nico in Shanghai, took him out of seventh and put him back in 19th. But then Alonso was just behind us when the safety car came in and Nico had vision problems that really he should've sorted out.
"His visor was running far too hot. That's one of those things that in winter testing when it's pissing with rain outside the driver should make sure that his visor cleaning process is working well. But by pulling him out of seventh and putting him back in 19th you're putting him into a bigger ball of spray, so it was probably not a clever move."