Michael: Too early to judge team's pace

Williams technical director Sam Michael believes it is too early to draw any conclusions about the competitiveness of their new car despite a promising first test at the Algarve track last week

Michael: Too early to judge team's pace

The Williams was fastest of the 2009-specification cars present at the test, outpacing McLaren-Mercedes, Toyota and Renault, but Michael says that it won't be until the later tests that their true pace is known.

"We had a good initial run with the FW31 and it was quite satisfying in terms of reliability," Michael told . "But in terms of performance, it is way too early to say where the teams are. There are too many variables in there to say where everyone is.

"There'll be a lot more information in the next test at Jerez, but with what we've done so far it's too early to say where anyone is. The pattern is going to shift a lot between now and the first race as people dial their setups to the slick tyres."

Despite being cautious about the overall performance of the package, Michael does believe that running a 'b-spec' version in testing late last year has helped the team to understand the setup needs of the new regulations.

"The thing that probably helped us was that we, along with BMW, did interim cars that had wide front wings and narrow rear wings. That helped us to see things, even though those parts were quite out of date in terms of where you would be for 2009. It helped us in understanding how they interact with the slicks.

"A lot of other teams didn't do that. But it doesn't take long to catch up on those sorts of things."

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