Head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley is hoping that the Williams team can pick up where it left off as the F1 season resumes in Belgium after its summer break.
Another double points finish – the fourth of 2014 - in Hungary confirmed Williams position in the top four places on the constructors' table, and Smedley is keen to hit the ground running in Belgium, acknowledging that the classic Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one which should suit to potent Mercedes-powered FW36.
“We have had a really good start to the 2014 campaign, and everyone is living and learning how to race back at the top again,” Smedley commented, “Hopefully, everybody has come back refreshed and motivated for the second half of the season. The objectives within the team are clear, we want to finish as high up in the constructors table as possible.
“Spa is a circuit that should suit us, as there is very high drag and engine sensitivity and those features will benefit us. However, the middle sector is something we will have to work on throughout the weekend and, in qualifying, we will need to have the tyres switched on for that sector. There is always a chance for rain in Spa too...”
One of the classic F1 venues, Spa is loved and respected by drivers in equal measure, and both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa are looking forward to hitting the track this weekend.
“Spa is always a great place to go, one of the best circuits in the world,” the Finn reflected, musing classic challenges such as Pouhon, Blanchimont and Eau Rouge, “The elevation changes and high speed corners make it a real pleasure to drive, especially in an F1 car.
“Because of the long straights and variable weather conditions, races can be very interesting for the driver and for the fans. To be competitive at Spa, you need a car with efficient aerodynamics, so we expect to be strong and are aiming for a good result.”
With a four-week summer break since their last track action, both drivers are relishing the return, although, with the new-for-2014 technical regulations limiting downforce, it remains to be seen whether the likes of Eau Rouge remain 'easy flat'...
“I have had a really nice summer break, but am ready to get back to racing,” former Belgian Grand Prix winner Massa admitted, “We have some great tracks to look forward to and I hope we can carry on developing our car like we did the first half of the season, and continue to be near the front.
“I love Spa - it's one of my favourite tracks because of the long straights and high speed corners, and it's a track we all look forward to racing at. The long straights should suit our car and we can kick the second half of the season off with some success. I won here in 2008, so I know what it takes to win...”