The Williams F1 team are feeling optimistic ahead of the first Grand Prix of the season, which they will start with a brand new car, the FW32, and two new race drivers, Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg. Reliability is still a concern although the team is confident of pulling past those problems after nearly 7,000kms of winter testing.
Sam Michael, Technical Director, commented, "The FW32 completed almost 7,000kms during winter testing with the new Cosworth engine installation. We have made great progress on reliability and we're still working on improving that, albeit at high mileages that we shouldn't encounter during race weekends.
"Performance has been solid throughout the test sessions, but Bahrain will tell us where we are. We tested the majority of our Bahrain race package while in Barcelona, while a couple of additional parts will go straight to the race. Rubens and Nico will also go through their first race weekend as teammates. Signs from winter testing are that they'll push each other all the way!"
Rubens Barrichello said, "I'm delighted to be entering my eighteenth season. I'm so motivated and I'm in a much better physical condition than I have been at any other time. I'm also really happy to be driving for AT&T Williams. I've settled in well, and I already feel like I've been here five years!
"We covered a lot of miles with the car during winter testing, working on reliability during the first few tests and then some upgrades for Bahrain at the final two. In terms of set-up, reliability and drivability of the engine, we've done a good job. The car has improved a lot and the team have done well preparing me so I'm completely familiar with everything heading into the first race.
"I think we’re strong, I'm optimistic, but it is very hard to draw a conclusion as to where we are so I'm going to wait and see. It's going to be a fantastic season with the new teams, the new drivers and the new regulations."
Nico Hülkenberg said, "Being a Formula One driver is a great feeling and I'm very excited about going to Bahrain. I learnt a lot as the team's test driver, which has prepared me well for the season ahead. Working in the factory has also helped give me more of a technical understanding of the car, it won't make me quicker, but it will help me with set-up.
"Winter testing was good for us. Having completed a good amount of mileage, we are well placed going into the season. The Cosworth engine is also looking strong; it's powerful and reliable. We have potential, but we have to wait to see where the competition is. It's going to be an exciting season and I can't wait to start it!"