Williams is now 'overdue' a good result in Formula 1 in 2009, argues Nico Rosberg, after a third strong qualifying performance in a row once again failed to be turned into a strong points finish in the Chinese Grand Prix at the weekend.
Rosberg has yet to start outside of the top seven so far this season, led for the opening 15 laps in Malaysia just over a fortnight ago and has impressively topped seven of the nine practice sessions to-date, but for one reason or another on race day that form has not been converted into results at the chequered flag, with sixth place in Melbourne, seventh in Sepang – and 15th in Shanghai, following a misguided call to pit under the initial safety car period and a similarly failed gamble later on in the race to bolt on intermediate tyres. It is high time, the young German contends, that Williams had some good luck for once.
“The main problem I had was drops sticking to my visor,” the 23-year-old explained. “They wouldn't run off, making it virtually impossible to see. It's a problem related to my visor's anti-fog system which I've had in the past but haven't been able to resolve.
“Fifteen laps before the end of the race we were not in a good position, so I asked to be switched onto intermediates as I thought we had to try something. For the first few laps, they were good. It looked like the way to go so I was quite pleased, but then unfortunately more rain came and it was all over again. Bahrain is only a week away and a good result, which everyone in the team deserves, is overdue.”
Still, at least Rosberg saw the chequered flag, which was more than could be said for team-mate Kazuki Nakajima, who quite literally found himself all at sea in the treacherous conditions as he spun on a number of occasions before ultimately being forced to call it a day on lap 44, following the Grove-based outfit's first mechanical failure since the Spanish Grand Prix last year.
“I had a transmission problem,” related the Japanese ace, “so unfortunately I couldn't carry on with the race. It was very difficult out there, with really poor visibility. There was a lot of standing water and it was hard to keep the car on the track, particularly on the exit of the last corner. I made some mistakes, but it was the same for everybody.”
Despite possessing arguably the fourth-fastest car in the field, Williams lies a lowly eighth in the constructors' title chase with more than a sixth of the season now having been completed. Director of engineering Patrick Head acknowledged that the points need to start coming – and fast.
“We thought the safety car would stay out for longer than it did at the start of the race,” the Englishman conceded, “so we decided to pull Nico in early to fuel him up. It turned out to be the wrong call, as the safety car came in just one lap later. We then struggled for pace against [Fernando] Alonso, who had done the same as us.
“We had what appears to be a gearbox failure on Kazuki's car, which forced us to retire him. It was not a good performance by us today. We made some wrong calls, and we will have to look at the circumstances and improve for the future. It's also very unusual for us to have a retirement for a technical failure. We will now look forward to a much better performance in Bahrain.
“On a separate note, the team is saddened by the unexpected death of Jim Douglas. With Williams since the early days, Jim was a stalwart in our machine shop for 28 years.”