Q & A with Williams's Rod Nelson

Conducted and provided by Williams's press office.

Q & A with Williams's Rod Nelson

Q. How did the high temperatures in Valencia affect the performance of the FW31?

Rod Nelson, Chief Operations Engineer: Although it felt very hot in Valencia, temperatures weren't actually that high; it just felt extremely hot due to the high humidity levels. As a comparison, air temperatures at the Bahrain Grand Prix reached 39°C with just 10% humidity, while temperatures were just 31°C in Valencia but humidity levels hit 60%.

Q. Were there any tyre wear issues on either car?

RN: We didn't have any significant tyre wear problems, no. We experienced a little graining on the front left tyre, but it didn't have any significant impact on performance.

Q. How much did the track conditions change over the course of the weekend?

RN: Although the circuit wasn't too dusty, the track was quite green in the early stages of Friday's practice session because there wasn't any rubber on the track. We were running the softest Bridgestone tyres which laid plenty of rubber down and that certainly helped increase grip levels. On average, that improved the lap times by approximately one second per lap in each session.

Q. What caused the technical problem on Kazuki's car during qualifying, and where could he have qualified without it?

RN: We had an issue with the throttle control system on Kazuki's car during his second run in qualifying. We have a safety system in place which shuts the engine down if it detects that the throttles are not following the driver's demand, so this kicked in and stopped Kazuki out on track. Both Nico and Kazuki were close all weekend up to this point so he should certainly have made it into the top ten. It's very difficult to be accurate when the grid is so tight, but I estimate he should have qualified between sixth and ninth.

Q. How did your cars fare against the KERS cars of McLaren and Ferrari at the start of the race?

RN: KERS wasn't a big issue at the start for two reasons. Firstly, turn one isn't always taken flat out at the start of the race (particularly if you are on the dirty, left-hand side of the track (where Raikkonen was), so the KERS cars can't use the additional 80 horsepower anyway. Secondly, it's also then a relatively short distance to the first serious braking point for turn two.

Q. Nico finished less than a second behind Heikki Kovalainen. Was fourth place ever really on the cards for him?

RN: We were aiming for Nico to finish ahead of Raikkonen and that was achievable. However, in the early part of Nico's second stint, we unexpectedly lost some performance for about 10 laps and that consigned us to finishing not only behind Raikkonen, but also behind Kovalainen as well.

shares
comments
Belgium preview quotes: Williams
Previous article

Belgium preview quotes: Williams

Next article

Q & A with Timo Glock

Q & A with Timo Glock
Load comments
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021