Heidfeld backs new Williams

Nick Heidfeld has jumped to the defence of Williams' new FW27 and insisted that it is good enough to help the team fight at the front - despite recent rumours that the car is suffering from a lack of rear downforce and traction

Heidfeld backs new Williams

Although the team had been forced to fit an extra Gurney-flap to its rear wing from its first major test at Valencia in Spain in order to help improve the balance of the car, especially at its rear end, Heidfeld believes a host of recent developments from the team and engine partner BMW have helped lift the team nearer the front of the field.

The German was an encouraging second fastest behind McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya at Jerez in Spain on Wednesday and believes he has seen enough promise in the car to make bold predictions about how strong the team will be from the start of the campaign.

Speaking to autosport.com, Heidfeld said: "The car is not good enough to be first, but it is good enough to be at the front.

"The car has improved each day, little by little, and we are expecting some new parts from BMW, and I don't think we need to change it in a big way. The car is very, very competitive."

Despite the change in aerodynamic regulations this year that has forced Williams' design team, led by technical director Sam Michael, to work extra hard to recover lost grip, Heidfeld claims that the new car is actually a step forward over last year's disappointing FW26.

"The speed is lower in the car, but the balance is much better than last year's."

One area that Heidfeld is not so adamant about, however, is the overall competitiveness of BMW compared to its rival engine manufacturers - especially because the need for power-units to last for two race weekends is causing big problems for some car makers.

Heidfeld is confident BMW is on top of the situation, but cannot say for definite where the company stands - especially because some of the slower cars so far have proved to be ultra reliable.

"We have had some engine problems, but BMW has been good at sorting it out. It seems, though, that we have a very close fight among the engine manufacturers because Toyota appears to be the only one that doesn't break!"

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