Williams technical director Sam Michael has conceded that the Grove-based outfit needs to up its game after a miserable Malaysian GP.
Following a double DNF at the F1 2011 season opener in Australia, the team was hoping for better at Sepang. However it wasn't to be. Indeed after a poor qualifying session, the race provided little relief with Pastor Maldonado going out on lap nine with a misfire, while Rubens Barrichello retired on lap 23 with a hydraulic issue. His afternoon though had already been wreaked after a collision at the end of the first lap which meant he had to pit to replace a punctured tyre.
“A hydraulic problem forced us out of the race today,” Barrichello confirmed. “The team are still trying to identify exactly what the issue was. I was running at the back anyway when we had to retire because of an early stop to change a punctured tyre picked up after a collision.
“This wasn't the start of the season I was hoping for and we need to improve. Right now we don't have a reliable car and we are playing catch up, but the team back home are pushing hard to get things resolved and bring performance to the car. I believe they will be there soon.”
Maldonado was equally frustrated: “We had a misfire problem on my car from the third lap. I tried to stay out, but we had to bring the car in,” he added. I am now looking ahead to China where I will be pushing to complete a full race distance and get a better result.”
“As a team, we expect to, and must, perform much better than that on all fronts,” Michael concluded. “Rubens had a left rear puncture after an impact with another car in the last turn of lap one. The necessarily cautious in-lap and extra pitstop to replace the tyre put him a lap down. We held out but we then suffered a hydraulic leak, most likely due to the puncture. That ended Rubens' race.
“An engine misfire, the cause of which we are investigating, put Pastor out earlier on in the proceedings. We'll now move to quickly correct these reliability issues and go to the race in Shanghai next weekend with some more performance for the FW33.”