After taking just a single point from last weekend's Indian Grand Prix, the Williams
team is determined to prove its potential for more when it arrives at Yas Marina for this Sunday's Abu Dhabi round.
Both Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado
threatened the top ten in India, but only the Brazilian emerged with an enhanced points tally, and chief operations engineer Mark Gillan believes that his squad was short-changed by Lady Luck after not using the full potential of a tweaked FW34 during Saturday's qualifying session.
"We were very pleased with both drivers, and their feedback on Friday proved very insightful, helping us get on top of the balance problem we have had in the car over the last few races," he reported, "We managed to isolate the cause in India and fix the issue, and it was pleasing to see how competitive Bruno was throughout the race - and, in particular, when he was able to show his true pace in free air. However, it highlights the need to qualify higher up the grid in order to avoid the traffic, as the right hand side of Pastor's floor and rear right brake duct were damaged [in a collision with Kamui Kobayashi], so he lost a reasonable amount of aerodynamic load."
Buoyed by the performance of the FW34 in India, however, Gillan is confident that both Senna and Maldonado - neither of whom have been officially confirmed for 2013 - can continue to display points potential in Abu Dhabi.
"On the back of an improved performance in India, we really want to show that the trend is continuing and will be pushing hard to get both cars in the top ten in qualifying," he noted, "From there, both Pastor and Bruno should be able to bring the cars home in the points."
Maldonado is looking forward to the weekend, having enjoyed his previous visits to Yas Marina in F1 and GP2.
"Although a reasonably new circuit, Abu Dhabi has become one of my favourites," he noted, "The race throws up some unique challenges because we start off driving in hot daytime conditions, but then the sun goes down and the temperature drops quickly. You therefore have to find a set-up that balances these different conditions. The track also changes a lot each day and there is quite a lot of sand on the track surface which you have to deal with."
Senna, meanwhile, sees both strengths and weaknesses in the FW34 that could be exploited over the coming weekend.
"Abu Dhabi could be an interesting track for us," the Brazilian mused, "It has a large number of slow corners, which has not traditionally suited our car, but it is also hard on brakes and that is an area where our car has been very strong all year. We have had a lot of updates to the car recently so, hopefully, we can have one of those trouble-free weekends where everything comes together and we can be competitive."