Pastor Maldonado feels confident that Williams have designed a competitve car for the 2013 season, after giving the FW35 it’s first day of track running in Barcelona. The Venezuelan finished 5th fastest, managing to put 66 laps on the car on it’s debut appearance.
Asked to sum up how he felt the day’s testing went in one word, Maldonado quickly answered,”Positive”.
When asked how he felt about the car, he replied, “Quite happy, the car is quite good. We have good data from last year. It’s a step forward, and I can feel that step forward.”
He continued , “It’s very comfortable on track. We didn’t push for any lap time as our main target is mileage, but I’m happy to start with many laps with no problems, with a good performance at the same time. There is a big improvement for sure.”
Despite the positivity, Maldonado is under no illusions that there’s still a long way to go.
“We need to work very hard still. We didn’t try any different set-ups, but we need to understand how the tyres work with this car. It’s completely different to the car I drove here in May (when he took his maiden win). It’s easy to drive, but that doesn’t mean it’s quick. It’s a good feeling, but completely different. For me, I need to get used to it and get more confidence. After two laps, I was already pushing though”
“We start with four less days than the other teams. We expected to have a quick car from the beginning thanks to the correlation on the simulator, and I can feel it here. It’s always difficult with the simulator as you cannot simulate the track conditions, in that respect.”
“I think the track was changing a lot today, especially on braking. We need to try to follow the track, understand the car, and make the tyres work. It’s not easy.”
Attention turned to the FIA view of the exhaust devices both Williams and Caterham have sported on their new designs. Williams have two flaps that envelope the Coanda exit, but Maldonado didn’t seem phased by the techinical row.
“No, actually I’m not worried. This is not changing anything for us. It’s a standard Coanda, and we’re experimenting with things for the future. We know the rules. We’re looking to get 100% from this car and I’m sure we’ll be there in Melbourne fighting for strong positions.”
The notion that understanding the Pirelli tyres will be key this season is not lost on Maldonado or Williams. The team ran their 2012 car at the first test in Jerez to garner as much information as possible.
“We don’t have 100% understanding of the tyres despite Jerez. They are more senstive and completly different than last year. They are easy to grain, but that was because it was cold this morning, with less graining in the afternoon. We need to work on it, for sure, there’s a big drop after one or two laps. But, I think it is too early to say something about the performance.”
“It’s the best car I’ve had for the first test in my three years here. There is a good driveability. I’m looking forward to try different things with this new car, I think I’m going to enjoy this season with this car.