Williams-Toyota

Formula 1 Team reports for the 2009 F1 season includes race previews, reports and reviews
Ed
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Postby Ed » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:11 am

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX PRACTICE

Objectives P1
• Wet running to assess set-up requirements for these conditions
Objectives P2
• Performance evaluation of tyres – high fuel for race and low fuel for qualifying
• Evaluation of aero and mechanical set-up

Conclusions – Sam Michael, Technical Director
“The weather was mixed this morning, so it was a little difficult to see where everybody was. What the rain in the morning did mean was the afternoon was compressed in terms of getting all of our work done. The running we have done shows we are not in our normal competitive position. However, we have tested lots of things today and we have got some direction, so we will look into this tonight and do all we can to take a big step tomorrow.”

Nico Rosberg
Runs P1: 1 (new option) install, 2 (new prime) baseline, 6 (new wet) wet running, 4 (scrubbed wet) aero balance, start on grid
Runs P2: 3 (scrubbed prime) baseline, 5 (scrubbed prime) continue run after red flag, 9 (new prime) new tyres, 5 (new option) new tyres, 4 (scrubbed prime) mechanical set-up, 3 (new option) new tyres

“It was not a good day today. The car was a long way from the pace and with the weather this morning, we only had one session to try and make a difference, which was not enough given how far behind we were. We made some big changes and we got some answers back, but we need to have a think tonight and try to find a solution.”

Kazuki Nakajima
Runs P1: 1 (new prime) install, 2 (scrubbed prime) baseline, 7 (new wet) wet running, 5 (scrubbed wet) aero balance, start on grid
Runs P2: 3 (scrubbed prime) baseline, 6 (scrubbed prime) continue run after red flag, 9 (new option) tyre test/race balance, 11 (new prime) tyre test/race balance, 4 (new option) new tyres

“It was a difficult day for us. The balance of the car was not too bad but we just need to find some more performance from the car from the other aspects we can change.”

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Postby Ed » Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:04 am

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING
SATURDAY 29 AUGUST, 2009

Today’s qualifying session at the Spa circuit ahead of tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix threw up an uncharacteristic front row, and, by extension, saw a number of favoured drivers knocked out in the earlier stages of the sessions. After an uncompetitive start to the weekend with the AT&T Williams team struggling to find pace, late overnight changes and a commanding session-best sector two in Q2 enabled Nico Rosberg to maintain a near-perfect top 10 qualifying record this season. In the fluctuating form up and down the field, Kazuki Nakajima was unable to repeat the performance of his team-mate and starts tomorrow’s race on the ninth row of the grid.

Nico Rosberg:
We have really struggled all weekend but we managed to get the best out of Q2 and finishing 10th was possibly the best we could achieve carrying quite a lot of fuel. We have a good strategy and therefore I think we can fight for some points tomorrow. It was a very strange qualifying session here today, I think maybe the way the teams are using their tyres is making quite a difference.

Kazuki Nakajima:
We struggled here yesterday in practice, but Nico managed to either drive very well or find a set-up direction that I didn’t. I hope I can learn something from the progress he made today and have a better time tomorrow in the race to make up for today’s disappointment.

Sam Michael, Technical Director:
We had a difficult day yesterday and we changed a lot of things overnight which definitely made the car better. It was an unbelievably tight qualifying session considering how long the lap is, which goes to show how much of a difference the rules have made. Nico did a fantastic job to get the car through to Q3 and from that point we adjusted our strategy to concentrate on Sunday. Congratulations to Force India for their first pole.

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Postby Ed » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:30 am

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Monza, Italy
In theory, a one stop strategy is quickest here, the effect of fuel weight is minimised by the relative absence of hard braking or acceleration. In practice, the quicker drivers plump for two stop strategies because they don’t want to compromise their qualifying performance (and, therefore, their grid position). The difference between one and two stops is also amplified by the high speeds: refuelling typically takes about 28 seconds, including time spent driving along the pit apron, and you cover a lot more ground during half a minute at Monza, where drivers average 150mph-plus, than you do elsewhere.

Talking technical

Car dynamics
Average turn angle indicates the average angle of a circuit’s corners expressed in degrees. The higher the average turn angle, the more acute the corners in the circuit’s configuration and the greater propensity for understeer to compromise lap time. Average turn angle at Monza is 800 which is the 2nd lowest for the Championship and is indicative of the presence of 3 chicanes out of only 7 turns.

The end of straight (EOS) speed at Monza was 343kp/h in 2008. The Italian track ranks as having the highest EOS speed on the 2009 calendar, and this is one indicator of the wing level typically selected to optimise the downforce/drag ratio. Meanwhile, Monza also has the highest average lap speed of any of the tracks on the calendar.

Pitlane & refuelling strategy

The pitlane length and profile contribute to the determination of the optimum fuel strategy. The pitlane loss at Monza is approximately 25.0 seconds, which is the most penalising pitlane in the Championship. To complete a normalised distance of 5km around Monza requires 2.18kg of fuel against an average of 2.42kg per 5km across all circuits this season, ranking the circuit as the least demanding in terms of fuel consumption.

Safety car
Another key contributor to the determination of race strategy is the likelihood of safety car deployments, which are influenced by weather considerations, the availability of clear run-off areas that allow racing to continue while recovery takes place and the circuit profile, especially the character of the entry and exit into turn one at the start of the race. There have been 3 safety car deployments in the last 9 years at Monza, which means that there is a 33% chance that the circuit’s character will induce a safety car period.

Temperature, pressure & humidity
As an example, it is a long observed tradition that drivers arriving at Interlagos complain about a lack of grip and an absence of engine power. Having become acquainted with a baseline of engine and aerodynamic performance during the season, the climb to 750 metres above sea level for one of the final races can, courtesy of the reduction in air density, rob a Formula One car of engine power, aerodynamic performance and cooling. The losses can come close to double digit percentages and thus have a very real impact on car performance. Air density is a factor of the prevailing ambient temperature, which varies most significantly by season, air pressure which is closely linked to altitude and, to a much smaller degree, by humidity. Thus if races are run at the same time each year, the factor that tends to have the greatest bearing on air density is elevation. Monza is 160m above sea level and has the 5th lowest average pressure (997 mbar) of any race venue in the 2009 championship. As a consequence, the circuit’s ambient characteristics will result in a slight reduction in engine power.

What the drivers say

Watching the Oris-sponsored Army Air Corps helicopter display team at Silverstone

Nico “I did a feature with RTL in Belgium playing the part of a TV stuntman and did a reverse bungee as part of a fight sequence. I won’t do anything though, risk is something to be controlled and I am really impressed with the pilots flying the helicopters here at Silverstone today. I’d go for a ride, but flying upside down in a helicopter….that would take some nerve.”

Kazuki “I’d rather watch those guys from the ground, I reckon….”

On driving his father’s Championship-winning FW08 at Silverstone
Nico “Now that’s a real racing car. I pushed quite hard out there, struggled a little bit with the gear-shifting, but the way it feels to drive is great and something I would love to have raced. With a bit more safety and a bit more engine power, it would be amazing. It was quite emotional, it was the car after all that kicked off my Dad’s career, so it was a great opportunity to drive it.”

Nico’s Italian connection

Nico “Yeah, I have quite few Italian friends and some of them are coming to the race. In terms of our prospects, of course the drag levels are similar to Spa and we had a tough time there, so there is a bit of a question mark, but I know they have been working hard at the factory - since the end of first practice in Belgium in fact!”

Why are the Italians so good at motor racing?

Nico “I think as a nation they were inspired by Enzo Ferrari. Every bar and restaurant has a TV showing the races and bizarrely I am better known in Italy than I am at home. It just is an enormous sport in Italy, everyone is very enthusiastic about racing.”

Kazuki “You can’t help but notice the passion, that’s what makes it different. It will be a really good weekend, it always is and I can safely say that I return home having been well fed!”

On the Autodromo

Nico “For sure, it is in the top five tracks in the world.”

Kazuki “It’s a track that stands out all on its own, exciting and challenging to drive, but remember that although it is low drag like Spa, the circuit has suited our car mechanically in the past few years, so I am pretty hopeful we will go better than in Belgium.”

Ed
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Postby Ed » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:17 am

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX - PRACTICE
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX - PRACTICE

Objectives P1
- Aero and mechanical set-up
Objectives P2
- Performance evaluation of the tyres. Evaluation of aero and mechanical set-up

Conclusions – Patrick Head, Director of Engineering
“We’ve been doing our homework on the tyres today. Both tyres look pretty good and we’ve gathered a lot of data today to go through to optimise our set-up for qualifying tomorrow.”

Nico Rosberg
Runs P1: Run 1 new primes (2 laps) install, run 2 new primes (10 laps) baseline, run 3 scrubbed prime (9 laps) mechanical set-up, run 4 scrubbed prime (8 laps) aero level
Runs P2: Run 1 scrubbed primes (6 laps) baseline, run 2 new prime (10 laps) tyre test, run 3 new option (10 laps) tyre test, run 4 new option (6 laps) mechanical test, run 5 scrubbed options (6 laps) aero level

“The most important job today is to find the compromise between top speed and grip and it’s not easy to arrive at the optimum downforce level. We were very slow on the straights this morning, so we looked at this and we have found a good solution. Tyres are just as important and we have completed a good test, from my point of view the direction is pretty clear. The rest of our running time was focused on aerodynamics and we found some good direction, but despite doing some good homework, it is going to be difficult for us here and it won’t be an easy weekend. To repeat the Spa performance of making into the top ten in qualifying will require a helluva lap, but that’s not to say we can’t pull it out of the bag!”

Kazuki Nakajima
Runs P1: Run 1 new primes (2 laps) install, run 2 scrubbed prime (10 laps) baseline, run 3 scrubbed prime (9 laps) mechanical set-up, run 4 scrubbed prime (7 laps) aero level
Runs P2: Run 1 new prime (7 laps) baseline new tyres, run 2 scrubbed prime (6 laps) aero level, run 3 new option (12 laps) new tyres, run 4 new option (6 laps) mechanical test, run 5 scrubbed option (5 laps) mechanical test

“Although we are not expecting much here, today didn’t go too badly. Certainly compared to Spa, I think I will be more competitive here, although it is perhaps too early to say how we will go in qualifying. We worked hard today and tried many different technical options, but importantly found some positive direction, so I think the main priority to is maintain this progress tomorrow.”

SESSION 1 SESSION 2
AIR & TRACK TEMP 25 - 270C /28 - 340C 27 - 280C / 37 - 410C
WEATHER Clear, sunny Clear, sunny
N ROSBERG 1:24.927 (13th) 29 LAPS 1:25.215 (17th) 38 LAPS Chassis FW31-03 Engine H470
K NAKAJIMA 1:25.150 (14th) 28 LAPS 1:24.799 (9th) 36 LAPS Chassis FW31-03 Engine H469/H456

Ed
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Postby Ed » Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:04 am

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING
SATURDAY 12 SEPTEMBER, 2009

Despite an intensive work programme to improve aerodynamic performance in low drag configuration over the past fortnight, the AT&T Williams team was unable to find sufficient performance gain to avert an uncompetitive qualifying performance for the Italian Grand Prix today. With aero performance key, and six cars benefitting from tactically important KERS systems on the high speed Monza circuit, maintaining the team’s unbroken run of eight points scores will be a significant challenge but one that will be tackled with resolve in tomorrow’s race.

Kazuki Nakajima:
It was a tough qualifying session for us – we knew it would be, but that doesn’t change the disappointment. The gap to making it into Q2 was very small and perhaps without hitting traffic on my last lap, something more might have been possible to give me a better start position for the race.

Nico Rosberg:
I started to find a bit more competitiveness during qualifying today and we made all the right decisions such as choosing the soft tyre, but I didn’t manage to put the ideal lap together as the car has not been at its best all weekend. Although we had a tough time with the car last race and we will struggle a lot here this weekend, I am convinced things will improve for Singapore and we will be back where we were in Valencia.

Patrick Head, Director of Engineering:
Obviously today’s performance is disappointing, but this was as much as our car can do here. Clearly we haven’t done a very good job with our low drag package for the car and we are suffering the consequences of that. Meanwhile, we are confident we can return to competitiveness for the next four races but here it is going to be very difficult to continue our run of points-scoring races. Nevertheless we will be doing our best.

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Postby Ed » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:00 am

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX - RACE
SUNDAY 13 SEPTEMBER, 2009

The AT&T Williams team compromised start towards the rear of the grid for the Italian GP today presented limited opportunities and indeed plenty of potential threats. In the event, Kazuki Nakajima and Nico Rosberg made contact in the early stages of the race, resulting in damage to the bodywork of Kazuki’s car, the debris from which became lodged in his team-mate’s FW31. Nico Rosberg as a consequence made two unscheduled stops, the first for a suspected puncture which in fact transpired to be an aerodynamic problem caused by debris, and the second due to damage sustained to the front right wheel which required a precautionary check to ensure the wheel nut locking mechanism had engaged properly. The time loss relegated Nico to a P16 finish, while Kazuki Nakajima, despite carrying an additional technical problem, managed to climb up the order to finish in the top ten.

Kazuki Nakajima:
We finished in a good position today considering our qualifying performance. I managed to gain a couple of positions in the first few corners and that made a big difference. The race pace wasn’t enough but we managed to have a good couple of laps and I think it was positive to keep Glock behind me even though he was going longer than me. I think we need to find more speed from the car but Singapore should be a good race for us.

Nico Rosberg:
This was a bad weekend for the team. To begin with, we have lacked pace since the start of practice, and we then had a number of issues in the race too. I had a good first lap and I made up four positions overtaking on the left and the right. Then I was hit on the front left by some debris and the car felt suddenly very different, with lots of understeer, so I assumed I had punctured my tyre and requested to pit. In fact the aero balance had been massively compromised and destroyed the grip, and this was just the beginning of a difficult afternoon. Today is one to put behind us, I think, and look ahead to next race where we should be fine.

Patrick Head, Director of Engineering:
Kazuki did a good day’s work today, starting in 17th and finishing in tenth, especially as he not only had bodywork damage but was also suffered a fuel pressure problem, losing him a little top end power. Nico had several problems today causing a number of unscheduled pit stops. Although Kazuki drove well, it is not lost on us that we are too far from the points and where we want to be.

Points: AT&T Williams 30.5 (6th), Nico Rosberg 30.5 (6th), Kazuki Nakajima -

Ed
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Postby Ed » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:10 am

Singpore Grand Prix Preview

Singapore
The sport’s only floodlit event suffers, like other street circuits, from a shortage of overtaking opportunities, although Nico Rosberg proved that it can be done with the right blend of confidence and bravado at last year’s event. The venue also has perhaps the most demanding combination of environmental and physical factors for the drivers to contend with; the threat of rain, high humidity levels and potentially blinding smog hovering over the city caused by the recent deforestation fires in neighbouring Indonesia. Combine the elements with a high downforce track consisting of 23 low speed corners and you have one of the most demanding races of the season.

Talking technical

Car dynamics
Average turn angle indicates the average angle of a circuit’s corners expressed in degrees. The higher the average turn angle, the more acute the corners in the circuit’s configuration and the greater propensity for understeer to compromise lap time. Average turn angle at Singapore is 94 degrees - which is below the average for the Championship. The circuit layout threads its way through the Singapore streets and comprises 23 corners. Good car stability will allow the driver to run even closer to the walls.
The end of straight (EOS) speed at Singapore was 291kp/h in 2008. The Singapore track ranks as having the 2nd slowest EOS speed on the 2009 calendar, and this is one indicator of the wing level typically selected to optimise the downforce/drag ratio. Meanwhile, Singapore also has the 2nd slowest average lap speed of any of the tracks on the calendar.

Pitlane & refuelling strategy
The pitlane length and profile contribute to the determination of the optimum fuel strategy. The pitlane loss at Singapore is approximately 19.5 seconds, which is the 13th most penalising pitlane in the Championship. To complete a normalised distance of 5km around Singapore requires 2.50kg of fuel against an average of 2.42kg per 5km across all circuits this season, ranking the circuit as the 3rd most demanding in terms of fuel consumption.

Safety car
Another key contributor to the determination of race strategy is the likelihood of safety car deployments, which are influenced by weather considerations, the availability of clear run-off areas that allow racing to continue while recovery takes place and the circuit profile, especially the character of the entry and exit into turn one at the start of the race. There were 2 safety car deployments in the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix. The street circuit layout and lack of circuit run-off areas make it highly possible that there will be a safety car period again this year.

Temperature, pressure & humidity
As an example, it is a long observed tradition that drivers arriving at Interlagos complain about a lack of grip and an absence of engine power. Having become acquainted with a baseline of engine and aerodynamic performance during the season, the climb to 750 metres above sea level for one of the final races can, courtesy of the reduction in air density, rob a Formula One car of engine power, aerodynamic performance and cooling. The losses can come close to double digit percentages and thus have a very real impact on car performance. Air density is a factor of the prevailing ambient temperature, which varies most significantly by season, air pressure which is closely linked to altitude and, to a much smaller degree, by humidity. Thus if races are run at the same time each year, the factor that tends to have the greatest bearing on air density is elevation. Singapore is at sea level and has an average pressure of 1,010mbar. As a consequence, the circuit’s ambient characteristics will have little effect on engine power.

What the drivers say

About the Singapore Grand Prix
Nico “It was a great weekend last year, I really enjoyed it. The atmosphere was just fantastic and the fact that it was a night race worked really well. The actual track was good fun to drive and a real challenge.”

Kazuki “The whole event is great and this is one of my favourite trips of the year. The circuit is very challenging, the location is really glamorous, as Formula One should be, and it’s an interesting place to visit. I don’t tend to go out much over a race weekend, but last year I went out for a few nice dinners and hope to do the same this year.“

What we’ve been up to between races
Kazuki “In the week after Monza I spent lots of time in the factory on the simulator, preparing for Singapore and Japan because of the back-to-back. I continued my usual training and then caught up with everything I needed to at home. I arrived in Singapore on Sunday, so I am in the city for the whole week leading up to the Grand Prix. This will give me a chance to acclimatise to the temperatures and humidity and, although we stay on European time, it will help me get used to staying up late! I’ll also be carrying out some marketing work for our partner, Randstad, on the Wednesday, when I’ll be making sushi!”

Nico “I spent a few days in Monaco after Monza and then went to Grove to complete some preparation runs on the simulator and to catch up with the guys in the factory. I came out to Singapore on Sunday as I have a driver day for AT&T on Wednesday during which I’ll be meeting some of their clients and doing some media work.”

Singapore from a technical perspective
Kazuki “Singapore is a very technical track because of all the different elements you have to contend with. It’s a night race so you have to make sure you are accustomed to the different light; it’s a street circuit so it’s quite slippery at the start of the weekend; it has few run-off areas and minimal overtaking opportunities. It is also really bumpy, particularly between turns 5 and 7. Combined with the high temperatures and humidity, it’s going to be a very challenging race for the drivers and the cars. Because of the number of low speed corners, it is a very high downforce circuit, but that is good for us as our car works well on this kind of track.”

Nico “The toughest thing about Singapore is the heat and the number of corners. There are 23, so there’s never an opportunity to relax. The circuit is challenging, but it’s a high downforce track which suits our car, so I’m hoping that we will have a better result there than we had in Monza.”

How difficult is driving at night?
Kazuki “Once you get used to the light and you’ve sorted out your visor, it really feels like normal. There were some corners where it was a little bit too dark last year, but I’m sure they will have sorted that out for this year.”

Nico “It is just a little more difficult because the visibility is generally comprised a little bit as it is darker, but you get used to it quite quickly and there are obviously masses of light. I think it would become really challenging if it rains though. The only thing that was a bit hard last year was seeing so little daylight as we stay on European time.”

Ed
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Postby Ed » Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:05 am

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX - PRACTICE

Objectives P1
- Aero and mechanical set-up, performance evaluation of new aero components
Objectives P2
- Tyre test, evaluation of aero and mechanical set-up

Conclusions – Patrick Head, Director of Engineering:
“We did our homework with the tyres today and they both look pretty good for the track, maybe the harder one is a bit more stable. We have also been experimenting with some different mechanical settings on the car and we know pretty much what we are going to do on Sunday. Tomorrow we will be focusing on speed for qualifying. The car is behaving as we would have expected but it’s too early to say where we are. We’ll get a better idea tomorrow.”

Nico Rosberg:

Runs P1: 1 New prime, 1 lap, I install, 2 new prime, 6 laps, baseline, 3 scrubbed prime, 9 laps, mechanical set-up test, 4 scrubbed prime, 7 laps, mechanical/aero balance test and fuel system check
Runs P2: 1 Scrubbed prime, 5 laps, baseline, 2 new prime, 10 laps, long run, 3 new option, 9 laps, long run, 4 new option 4 laps qualifying simulation, 5 scrubbed option, 5 laps, mechanical set-up

“The first session started off pretty poorly but we made some changes and began to find some direction. Although we knew we’d be back on the pace here, by the end of the day we had concluded a good tyre test and found some improved performance from set-up changes, so I am pleased that we had a good day. I had a bit of a moment towards the end of the second session and touched the wall a little bit but didn't damage the car - just scratched the front wing a bit - but as Frank says, ‘If you don’t touch the wall, you are not going fast enough!”

Kazuki Nakajima:
Runs P1: 1 New prime, 1 lap, install, 2 scrubbed prime, 8 laps, baseline, 3 scrubbed prime, 9 laps, aero set-up and component test, 4 scrubbed prime, 7 laps, mechanical set-up, fuel system check
Runs P2: 1 Scrubbed prime, 5 laps, baseline, 2 new prime, 9 laps, long run, 3 new option, 13 laps, long run, 4, new option, 7 laps, qualifying simulation

“It is physically very tough out there and they were two hard sessions today. However, I believe I have prepared well and the conditions should not be too much of a problem. We still have some work to do on the tyres, but our long run pace was positive today and hopefully we continue our engineering progress tomorrow.”

SESSION 1 SESSION 2
AIR & TRACK TEMP 31 degrees C /30 - 34 degrees C 30 degrees C / 29 - 30 degrees C
WEATHER Clear Clear
TOP 3
R Barrichello 1:50.179
J Button 1:50.356
M Webber 1:50.416

S Vettel 1:48.650
F Alonso 1:48.924
H Kovalainen 1:48.952

N ROSBERG 1:51.427 (11th) 23 LAPS 1:49.333 (7th) 33 LAPS Chassis FW31-03 Engine H474
K NAKAJIMA 1:51.089 (10th) 25 LAPS 1:50.023 (15th) 34 LAPS Chassis FW31-04 Engine H456

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Postby Ed » Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:29 am

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING

Nico Rosberg matched his career-best qualifying result of P3 recorded in Malaysia in 2006 in a scintillating performance in Singapore tonight. Having set the fastest low fuel lap in Q2, he secured the third best time despite only having the benefit of one run in final qualifying and was midway through an improving lap when a red flag incident concluded the session. Team-mate Kazuki Nakajima was close to his fourth appearance in the top ten shoot-out this season and held P10 until the dying seconds of the second qualifying session when he was edged out by just under two tenths of a second. He has, however, freedom on his fuel strategy for tomorrow’s night race.

Nico Rosberg:
It’s been a great day as it has been the result of some good work to change and adapt the set-up of the car in practice and even in Q1. Going into qualifying, it all came alive in Q2 and I got a super lap in. Although Q3 was not as easy on heavy fuel loads, I think we are seeing the benefit of a lot of development work that has gone into the car and I am really pleased for the whole team that we have made another step towards a podium finish and we may even be able to fight for a win sometime soon. P3 is a great position to start from tomorrow and I will be on the clean side of the track, which might prove to be important.

Kazuki Nakajima:
It was frustrating to be P11 and just miss out making it into Q3. The car had more potential if I had been able to find more from the tyre on warm up, but I had quite a few different points on the lap where I was struggling. That said, I think we have a good chance to score some points from where we are tomorrow.

Sam Michael, Technical Director:
It was a fantastic qualifying performance from Nico tonight with his true pace only shown in Q2 because of the red flag in Q3. So I’m really happy for him and expect him to race well tomorrow. Kazuki just missed the cut for Q3, but can race for points tomorrow with a good fuel strategy. We could see from yesterday’s practice that the FW31 upgrades were working well, so development is going in the right direction and well done to everybody in the team that has contributed to this progress.

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Postby Ed » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:07 am

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX - RACE

Having secured P3 on the starting grid and wrestling another position off the start line at the beginning of the race, Nico Rosberg was well set for a repeat of his second place finish at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix when a transgression relegated him to the rear of the field. Jumping the kerb at the pitlane exit, he was unable to recover the car into the pitlane before the white line that drivers must observe before rejoining the race. That unfortunately earned him a mandatory drive-through penalty, which coincided with a safety car period. This sequence of events consigned him to an unrecoverable position towards the rear of the field. Despite the disappointment, Nico’s pace in Q2 as well as in the race itself was encouragement for the team to take forward to next weekend’s race in Japan.

Kazuki Nakajima:
It was a difficult race and I think I did the best job I could, but it was disappointing not to be able to claim any points. There seemed to be a possibility in the last stint as the car in front of me was struggling with its tyres but as much as focus on the car ahead, I also had to defend from behind, so it was tough to find the balance. The car has been good here and hopefully we can carry this with us to Japan.

Nico Rosberg:
Today’s outcome was hugely disappointing. I made an unnecessary mistake by braking too late and running over the white line on the pitlane exit. Then the safety car came out at the worst possible moment. It left me with a really horrible feeling, also for the team, knowing that I wouldn’t be second when I have served my drive-through penalty and I would have to spend the rest of the race at the back. The team gave me such a good car this weekend having put more effort into development than anyone else, and I am now determined to use this to best advantage in Japan.

Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Nico had a really good start and showed strong pace all the way to the first pit stop. He had a good strategy for the remainder of the race which was going to put him solidly into P2, but unfortunately he had a problem at the end of the pitlane which cost him a drive-through penalty. It was a real shame because he had done everything right in practice, qualifying and the race, and then had a small mistake that was very costly. We then called him in early for his second stop to vary the strategy in case of another safety car. Kazuki had an uneventful race, but the car pace here has been good all weekend, our upgrades are delivering and we have some more to add to the car for the races ahead.

Points: AT&T Williams 30.5 (6th), Nico Rosberg 30.5 (7th), Kazuki Nakajima -

Ed
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Postby Ed » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:33 am

Japanese Grand Prix Preview

Suzuka, Japan

Back on the calendar for the first time since 2006, Suzuka will henceforth share the Japanese Grand Prix with Fuji Speedway. The circuit features many quick corners and sudden directional changes, which place a significant load on tyres, but the figure-of-eight configuration balances the load over the course of a lap so the wear rate is not as significant as the cornering speeds might suggest. Two-stop strategies are the norm, although that depends on local weather patterns: the region is prone to occasional typhoons.

Talking technical
Car dynamics
Average turn angle indicates the average angle of a circuit’s corners expressed in degrees. The higher the average turn angle, the more acute the corners in the circuit’s configuration and the greater propensity for understeer to compromise lap time. Average turn angle at Suzuka is 990 - which is below the average for the Championship. Suzuka is the only circuit on the Formula One calendar to feature a figure-of-eight configuration.

The end of straight (EOS) speed at Suzuka was 311kp/h in 2006. The Japanese track ranks as having the 4th highest EOS speed on the 2009 calendar, and this is one indicator of the wing level typically selected to optimise the downforce/drag ratio. Meanwhile, Suzuka also has the 3rd highest average lap speed of any of the tracks on the calendar.

Pitlane & refuelling strategy
The pitlane length and profile contribute to the determination of the optimum fuel strategy. The pitlane loss at Suzuka is approximately 19.9 seconds, which is the 10th most penalising pitlane in the Championship. To complete a normalised distance of 5km around Suzuka requires 2.37kg of fuel against an average of 2.42kg per 5km across all circuits this season, ranking the circuit as the 5th least demanding in terms of fuel consumption.

Safety car
Another key contributor to the determination of race strategy is the likelihood of safety car deployments, which are influenced by weather considerations, the availability of clear run-off areas that allow racing to continue while recovery takes place and the circuit profile, especially the character of the entry and exit into turn one at the start of the race. There has been only one safety car deployment during the five previous races at Suzuka which means the circuit’s character is unlikely to induce a safety car period.

Temperature, pressure & humidity
As an example, it is a long observed tradition that drivers arriving at Interlagos complain about a lack of grip and an absence of engine power. Having become acquainted with a baseline of engine and aerodynamic performance during the season, the climb to 750 metres above sea level for one of the final races can, courtesy of the reduction in air density, rob a Formula One car of engine power, aerodynamic performance and pooling.
The losses can come close to double digit percentages and thus have a very real impact on car performance. Air density is a factor of the prevailing ambient temperature, which varies most significantly by season, air pressure which is closely linked to altitude and, to a much smaller degree, by humidity. Thus if races are run at the same time each year, the factor that tends to have the greatest bearing on air density is elevation. Suzuka is 50m above sea level and has the 6th highest average pressure (1,009 mbar) of any race venue in the 2009 championship. As a consequence, the circuit’s ambient characteristics will have little effect on engine power.

What the drivers say
Thoughts on the Singapore Grand Prix
Nico “Singapore was good and bad. On the one hand, it was impressive to see how much the team has developed the car which allowed us to be right up there with the quickest teams. On the other hand, I robbed us of a very likely second place with a silly mistake.”

Kazuki “For me, the Singapore Grand Prix was a solid but flat race, I didn’t really have any bad moments, but there weren’t any highlights either. We were strong all weekend, and consistent too, but at the end of the day I didn’t manage to make up enough places during the race to get into a points-scoring position. I am now just hoping that it will happen at my home race later this week.”

What we’ll be doing between Singapore and Japan
Kazuki “I am flying to Tokyo on Monday morning for a sponsor day on Tuesday. I will then head out to Suzuka on Wednesday. My work won’t be done after the race weekend though as I have two more sponsor days on the Monday and Tuesday after the race! It sounds very busy, but this year’s schedule is better for me than the one I had last year when all the events were packed into the week before the race.”

Nico ”I am travelling to Hong Kong after Singapore for a day with RBS on Tuesday. I’ll then make my way over to Japan on Wednesday.”

About Japan
Kazuki “I kind of grew up around Suzuka. I have been to the circuit many, many times and it’s the place where I started karting. I’ve also watched countless races there, not just Formula One races, but many other forms of Japanese motorsport, so going to Suzuka feels like going home. Apart from a short trip last April, I haven’t been there for the past four years so it will be almost like a new experience. Overall, it’s just a very nice place and I can’t wait to get there.”

Nico “I am now looking forward to Suzuka because I think we can do well there. Personally, I think the track is one of the best on the calendar, up there with Spa. It’s also a good venue for Formula One because the fans are so enthusiastic which is always great.”

Suzuka from a technical perspective
Kazuki “Suzuka has a very technically challenging layout. It’s designed in a figure of eight shape, which has a mix of 16 slow and fast corners around the lap. One of my favourites is the famous 130R which is really unforgiving. It’s a really quick circuit so you have to make sure you have a well balanced set-up or you’re just punished the whole way round. The one thing you have to be careful of in Japan at this time of year is the weather which can be really variable, but that could just make it more exciting!”

Nico “I haven't been to Suzuka for three years now but I felt really comfortable on the track the last time that I raced there I am looking forward to driving it again.”

Ed
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Postby Ed » Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:23 pm

JAPANESE GRAND PRIX - PRACTICE
FRIDAY 02 OCTOBER, 2009

Objectives P1
- Wet running and wet tyre compare
- Aero systems checks

Objectives P2
- Set-up tuning for the wet
- Grid starts

Conclusions – Sam Michael, Technical Director
“It was a fairly uneventful day in terms of running the cars due to the weather. We checked both full wet and intermediate tyres and the wet set-up. Now we’ll prepare the cars for qualifying with new engines and the race gearboxes. We’ll have to be conservative on the gear ratios tonight due to no dry running at all.”

Nico Rosberg
Runs P1: Run 1 new wets (1 lap) install, run 2 scrubbed wets (4 laps) baseline, run 3 new inters (8 laps) mechanical set-up, run 4 scrubbed inters (7 laps) fuel system test
Runs P2: Run 1 scrubbed wets (8 laps) set-up tuning for the wet and grid start

“Today was just a matter of trying out the tyres in order to get an understanding of where the change over points are and how the inters and full wets are working, degradation-wise. What was clear was that I pretty much destroyed the wets when the track dried out. With the information from both cars, we now have a good understanding of what is going on.”

Kazuki Nakajima
Runs P1: Run 1 new wets (1 lap) install, run 2 new inters (10 laps) baseline, run 3 scrubbed inters (7 laps) mechanical set-up and fuel system test
Runs P2: Run 1 scrubbed wets (8 laps) set-up tuning for the wet and grid start

“Not a great day in terms of weather, but in terms of results it was ok. We didn’t get many laps in, but those we did get gave us a good platform for any potential wet weather running over the weekend. It looks positive, so hopefully we’ll be in the same position tomorrow for qualifying, but in the dry, preferably!”

Ed
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Postby Ed » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:02 pm

JAPANESE GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING

SATURDAY 03 OCTOBER, 2009

Following only a minimal amount of dry running during Friday’s practice sessions, qualifying for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix proved challenging for AT&T Williams today. Nico Rosberg made it into Q2 but his subsequent runs to achieve a place in the top ten were unsuccessful, while the session was also severely disrupted by two red flag incidents. Nico was ultimately forced out of Q2 in P11. Kazuki Nakajima’s debut qualifying at Suzuka in front of his home crowd ended in disappointment as he was eliminated out of Q1 with the 17th time.

Nico Rosberg:
It was a dramatic qualifying session with numerous accidents and so many people going off which just show that this is a really unforgiving track. I’m not overly happy with my performance today but I didn’t feel particularly comfortable in the car. The first part of qualifying was ok, but I never found the same level of grip after that. Of course, I would have wanted to do better than 11th place, but it at least gives us the opportunity to choose our strategy tomorrow.

Kazuki Nakajima:
We didn’t really get the grip in the dry conditions or get the most out of the car today. I’m really disappointed. Yesterday was a pretty good day in the wet, but it just didn’t go right in the dry. It’s very nice to be at home in front of so many fans, I just hope to be able to do better for them tomorrow.

Sam Michael, Technical Director:
That was a strange session with so many red flags. Kazuki just missed out on Q2 by a narrow margin, then Nico just missed out on Q3 after two false starts that ended up in red flags with no lap time on the board. With the remaining time we had, we decided to go out earlier than usual on another set of primes but it didn’t put us through. Both drivers have the choice of fuel strategy now so we'll put all our efforts into that to get the best possible result that we can.

Ed
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Postby Ed » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:21 am

JAPANESE GRAND PRIX - RACE

Nico Rosberg banked four points for the team at today’s Japanese Grand Prix with his fourth fifth place finish of the year. Driving a solid race in a field distorted by penalties, Nico held seventh position off the grid and went on to gain two places up the order before crossing the line in P5. Kazuki Nakajima’s 15th place finish, following a race beleaguered by traffic on a one stop strategy, compounded what has transpired to be a disappointing weekend in front of his home crowd.

Nico Rosberg:
That was the best I could do today for sure. The car wasn’t as quick as we wanted it to be but we got the best out of it. I had a really good strategy which helped deliver this result. It was a tough race so overall I’m pleased.

Kazuki Nakajima:
Obviously it was a difficult race for me. I was on a one stop strategy which was working up to a point but then there was just too much traffic and the safety car came out so it didn’t work out the way we had hoped. It’s a disappointing result at my home Grand Prix.

Sam Michael, Technical Director:
We had an interesting race because our strategies were quite different to the cars around us due to the penalties imposed yesterday. Nico kept his head down and scored some points which was what was required today. He was competitive at the times he needed to be and this is a good result. Kazuki was on a one stop strategy, which was really dependent on something happening to help him up the order, but it didn’t unfortunately.

Points: AT&T Williams 34.5 (6th), Nico Rosberg 34.5 (7th), Kazuki Nakajima -

Ed
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Postby Ed » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:39 pm

Brazilian Grand Prix Preview

Interlagos, São Paulo, Brazil

The third anti-clockwise circuit of the campaign, after Istanbul Park and Singapore, Interlagos features a long, long uphill left-hander that places a tremendous strain on drivers’ necks – and tyres. In ordinary circumstances, this is yet another two-stop race: McLaren gambled on a three-stop strategy when trying to revive Lewis Hamilton’s title hopes in 2007 and the Englishman dropped more than half a minute to the pace-setting Ferraris.
Hamilton and many others subsequently made unscheduled third stops in 2008 because of a torrential downpour, almost a daily occurrence at this time of year in São Paulo.

Talking technical

Car dynamics
Average turn angle indicates the average angle of a circuit’s corners expressed in degrees. The higher the average turn angle, the more acute the corners in the circuit’s configuration and the greater propensity for understeer to compromise lap time. Average turn angle at Interlagos is 122 degrees - which is above average as the second sector of the lap comprises a mix of long, high speed corners.
The end of straight (EOS) speed at Interlagos was 305kp/h in 2008. The Brazilian track ranks as having the 8th highest EOS speed on the 2009 calendar, and this is one indicator of the wing level typically selected to optimise the downforce/drag ratio. Meanwhile, Interlagos also has the 7th highest average lap speed of any of the tracks on the calendar.

Pitlane & refuelling strategy
The pitlane length and profile contribute to the determination of the optimum fuel strategy. The pitlane loss at Interlagos is approximately 21.0 seconds, which is the 8th most penalising pitlane in the Championship. To complete a normalised distance of 5km around Interlagos requires 2.29kg of fuel against an average of 2.42kg per 5km across all circuits this season, ranking the circuit as the 3rd least demanding in terms of fuel consumption.

Safety car
Another key contributor to the determination of race strategy is the likelihood of safety car deployments, which are influenced by weather considerations, the availability of clear run-off areas that allow racing to continue while recovery takes place and the circuit profile, especially the character of the entry and exit into turn one at the start of the race. There have been eight safety car deployments since 2000, so the circuit’s character is very likely to induce a safety car period.

Temperature, pressure & humidity
As an example, it is a long observed tradition that drivers arriving at Interlagos complain about a lack of grip and an absence of engine power. Having become acquainted with a baseline of engine and aerodynamic performance during the season, the climb to 750 metres above sea level for one of the final races can, courtesy of the reduction in air density, rob a Formula One car of engine power, aerodynamic performance and cooling. The losses can come close to double digit percentages and thus have a very real impact on car performance.

Air density is a factor of the prevailing ambient temperature, which varies most significantly by season, air pressure which is closely linked to altitude and, to a much smaller degree, by humidity. Thus if races are run at the same time each year, the factor that tends to have the greatest bearing on air density is elevation. Interlagos is 750m above sea level and has the lowest average pressure (927 mbar) of any race venue in the 2009 Championship. As a consequence, the circuit’s ambient characteristics will have the largest reduction of engine power of any race this year.

What the drivers say

Thoughts on the Japanese Grand Prix

Nico “It was a strange weekend in Japan. The weather on Friday made things quite tricky as we didn’t have much time to prepare the car, then all the incidents during qualifying made for an interesting session as well. What happened in Q2 obviously affected qualifying for me, but then I benefitted from all of the grid penalties. In the end, I started from 7th and ended the race in P5, collecting more points which I was pleased about after Singapore.”

Kazuki “Japan was just disappointing for me really. I really went there hoping to score points as I was back home at Suzuka in front of my home fans but it wasn’t to be.”

What we did after Japan

Kazuki “Work didn’t stop when the race finished for me. I went straight back to Tokyo on the Monday for a driver appearance for AT&T in the evening, then I had another event on Tuesday for Accenture. Marketing duties ended on Wednesday and I have spent the week in Japan with my friends and family as I get to see so little of them during the season. I’ll travel straight to Brazil from here, so it’s been a long trip!”

Nico ”I went straight back to Monaco after Japan. As it was a back-to-back with Singapore, it was a long trip away so it was nice to get back home. I’m heading out to Brazil a little earlier, on Monday, as I have a driver day for Allianz in Brazil on Tuesday.”

About Brazil

Kazuki “Brazil is very different to Japan so it’ll be a complete change going there next week! I like it though. The fans are always amazing; they’re really passionate about Formula One, so it’s nice to experience the atmosphere. On Wednesday I’m with AT&T, so hopefully I’ll get to experience some proper Brazilian culture with them before the weekend begins.”

Nico “I love Brazil. It’s such a vibrant country and São Paulo is cool. It’s normally the last race of the year so there are a few parties, but I imagine it will be different this year now it’s not the last race on the calendar. Either way, it’s a great place to have a race so I’m looking forward to it.”

Interlagos from a technical perspective

Kazuki “Interlagos is a fairly challenging track because it’s so bumpy and goes in an anti-clockwise direction, but it’s really exciting to drive. There are some good overtaking opportunities, which is good because the grid will no doubt be tight because of the shorter lap time and it’s important to qualify well. We’ll have to do lots of work on Friday to find the right set-up and achieve a strong mechanical balance to cope with the track’s layout, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Nico “Interlagos is a really fun track to drive as it has a bit of everything – gradient changes, a complete mix of corners and it runs in an anti-clockwise direction which presents a different challenge for the drivers, especially for our neck muscles. Last year wasn’t so great for us because of the rain at the start of the race which left us towards the rear of the field, so I really hope we go there and do well this time.”


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