Williams technical director Mike Coughlan says the team will wait until Friday practice has been completed in Melbourne before making a final decision on its aero package for the F1 season opener.
Speaking ahead of the first race of the new campaign, Coughlan revealed that the team plans to use the two Friday sessions to continue working on aerodynamic evaluations before a final decision is taken on which package will be used at Albert Park.
However, Coughlan said he was confident that - whichever package the team decides to run – the FW35 would be on the pace when the action gets underway.
“We had a successful winter test and are continuing to look at all the data we gathered,” he said. “Following this, we have some further aero tests planned for Friday with both drivers in Australia. The results so far have been interesting and so we'll make our final decision on Friday evening as to what we will run over the weekend. In either case, we feel we have two strong aero packages, each with their own benefits, and so the nature of the circuit and temperatures we find will dictate which package we choose.
“Melbourne is a high power sensitivity circuit, more so than Spa-Francorchamps which is quite surprising. Ambient temperatures can be very high, fuel consumption is high and there is increased brake wear. The ambient temperatures in Jerez and Barcelona are very different to what we expect to find in Australia, so we'll be looking very closely at tyre degradation during practice on Friday. Overall, we are very much looking forward to the start of the season as we have confidence in the FW35.”
Williams came close to a strong finish last year in Australia before Pastor Maldonado was forced to retire late on, and the Venezuelan said he was confident of making amends and starting the season well this time around.
“We have been working extremely hard over the winter to improve the performance of the car and we have noticed good potential in the recent tests in Barcelona,” he said. “I've been involved with the FW35 build since the start of the project in early 2012, working with the engineers, design office and the technicians in the wind tunnel to push for improvements on all fronts.
“Obviously we don't know what other teams have done and you can only learn so much during testing, but we expect to be more competitive than last year. I like street circuits so I always enjoy coming to Australia and now I just want to start the season and find out where we stand.”