Rubens Barrichello has admitted that Williams
are 'not quite where we want to be just yet' as the F1 2011 curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix
in Melbourne approaches apace – but the team has been quick to praise the ultra-experienced Brazilian's input into the development of its Cosworth-powered FW33 as 'invaluable'.
On his final day inside the cockpit before heading Down Under, Barrichello conducted a race simulation on new tyres around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, revealing afterwards that 'the car felt okay but we are still not quite where we want to be just yet'. Rookie team-mate Pastor Maldonado
then took over behind the wheel, but it was a troubled afternoon for the young Venezuelan, who will remain on-track to wrap up Williams' pre-season testing preparations on Saturday.
“We lost some time while we changed the engine and then during the installation lap we had another minor engine problem,” reported the recently-turned 26-year-old. “In the end, I only did one long run, but the most important thing was that I got to drive the car with the new aero package, which does feel better. Hopefully we will get a full day of running in tomorrow.”
“Rubens completed a race distance this morning, which marked the end of his winter test programme,” concluded the Grove-based outfit's technical director, Sam Michael. “The mileage and input he has given towards setting up the FW33 has been invaluable to the team.
“We had an oil leak on the engine at lunchtime before Pastor took over for the afternoon. As it was high mileage, we chose to change it. We achieved most of our programme today, and it looks like we'll be into some wet running tomorrow. We will continue to run in Barcelona without KERS, but everyone's pushing to ensure we have it on the car for Melbourne.”
To see Friday's testing times in full, click here