Hungary important ‘psychologically’, admits Smedley
23 July 2014
Williams will be looking for a continuation of recent results at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, determined to give its rivals something to think about during F1's summer break.
Valtteri Bottas has stood on the podium at each of the past three races, improving on third place in Austria with second in both Britain and Germany, as Williams inched its way up the constructors' table, overtaking McLaren, Force India and Ferrari in the process.
The Hungaroring presents a very different challenge to the last three venues, however, with an average speed of just 120mph making it the slowest permanent circuit on the calendar. With the current Williams car benefitting from the combination of slippery aerodynamics and powerful Mercedes engine, the likes of Silverstone and Hockenheim have played to its strengths, but Felipe Massa is confident that the Grove squad can continue to challenge the likes of Red Bull in the pursuit of points.
“Hungary is a track where a good power unit is a little less important, aerodynamics play a higher part and getting good downforce for the corners is vital,” the Brazilian noted, “We have worked hard to get the car ready for this type of circuit and, if that has all worked, we should still be competitive. I hope to be able to get lots more points this weekend.”
Massa's recent luck, which resulted in first lap accidents in the British and German grands prix, has not seen him add points since Austria, leaving the task of adding to Williams' tally in the hands of the impressive Bottas.
“We know it's not the best circuit for our car, but we are working on getting more grip in the corners and have some upgrades that should help as well,” the Finn revealed, “A good few practice sessions should help us get the set-up right and we are aiming for a good result so we head into the holidays with a good feeling.”
More important than 'a good feeling', however, would be the chance to make rivals believe that the FW36 is competitive on all types of circuit before the season resumes at Spa, and head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley is keen to head into the ensuing four-week break – which includes a fortnight in which F1 factories are mandated to shut down – on another high.
“It's a very important race as it's the last before the summer break and, psychologically, it's important to get a good haul of points and come away in a strong position,” he admitted, before confirming that the Hungaroring is not necessarily a circuit to suit the Williams, “It's a very high downforce circuit with low efficiency and it's usually very hot there. With the tyre compounds that Pirelli will be bringing, it'll be a difficult race.”