Pastor Maldonado says new Williams is a big improvement on FW34

The new Williams FW35 is a big improvement on its Formula 1 predecessor according to the team's lead driver Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado says new Williams is a big improvement on FW34

The 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner gave the new car its first run in pre-season testing on Tuesday, completing 86 laps.

With the test taking place at Barcelona, the scene of Maldonado's remarkable victory last year, the Venezuelan said the team had reliable data to compare the new car with the FW34 and that progress was clear to see.

"There is an improvement, a big one," Maldonado told reporters in the paddock at the end of the day. "It's a step forward.

"We have good data here from last year so I confirmed a step in performance. The car seems to be very comfortable on the track.

"I'm very happy because it's the best car I have [driven], especially in the first test.

"Last year's car was good, competitive all through the year, but I think there is a clear step forward on this car."

Maldonado added that the car felt nothing like his race-winning FW34 at the same track last year.

"It's completely different," he said. "A completely different car, a different feeling.

"It seems to be more easy to drive, but easy doesn't mean quick, so we need to wait a little bit to get to the bottom of the car.

"Last year, a couple of times the car was very difficult but at the same time very quick, so it's difficult to compare."

AUTOSPORT says
F1 editor Edd Straw (@eddstrawf1)

Pastor Maldonado's comments on the new Williams FW35 sound relatively run of the mill - good step forward, positive step, upbeat etc etc - the usual new car launch platitudes.

But the way the Venezuelan delivered his lines leaves you in no doubt as to his sincerity in feeling that this car is very promising indeed. To see him grinning and bouncing around the paddock served only to intensify that impression.

Maldonado knows what a good car feels like at Barcelona having won here last year, so his positive attitude is to be taken seriously.

Everything we've seen from Williams over the last year suggests that under technical director Mike Coughlan, it has a good handle on exactly what it's trying to achieve and the improvement in detail work on this car compared to its predecessor is clear.

We can take Maldonado at his word when he says it's a step forward but the key question is whether it's a relative step forward. But all the evidence so far suggests that making the top five in the constructors' championship remains a realistic aim.

After the usual equivocations about needing more time in the car, I asked him what his gut feeling was and whether the car was capable of challenging for race wins. His response lacked the usual downplaying of expectations and made his feelings very clear.

"I think I'm going to enjoy it with this car during the season..."

shares
comments
F1 testing: Red Bull ignoring rivals' test pace
Previous article

F1 testing: Red Bull ignoring rivals' test pace

Next article

Under the skin of the Williams FW35

Under the skin of the Williams FW35
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP Plus

Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP

On paper the Canadian Grand Prix will go down as Max Verstappen’s latest triumph, fending off late pressure from Carlos Sainz to extend his Formula 1 world championship lead. But as safety car periods, virtual and real, shook up the race Ferrari demonstrated it can take the fight to Red Bull after recent failures

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
The in-demand helmet designer creating works of art for F1's best Plus

The in-demand helmet designer creating works of art for F1's best

GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV pays a visit to designer Jens Munser, to observe the production of Mick Schumacher’s special helmet for the Miami Grand Prix. What follows is some fascinating insight on the mindsets of Mick’s dad Michael, and family friend Sebastian Vettel

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2022