21 November 2014
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Williams ‘tried something different’ with sidepod
Valtteri Bottas insists that Williams will not be adversely affected by the sidepod problem that beset both cars in opening practice for the F1 finale in Abu Dhabi.
Valtteri Bottas has shrugged off an incident in which he lost the right-hand sidepod of his Williams in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, insisting that it won't be a major problem for the team.
Both the Finn and team-mate Felipe Massa suffered the problem in opening practice at Yas Marina, although the Brazilian was able to return to the pit before losing any bodywork. Bottas was not as fortunate, however, leaving a large chunk of carbon-fibre on track after it was torn from the car at speed.
Despite losing time while repairs were effected, however, the Finn insisted that it had not been a major setback for Williams, which also suffered an issue with its bodywork at Silverstone back in July.
“FP1 wasn't that good for us as we had an issue with the sidepod, when it came off, but it was no big problem,” he claimed, “We know that, by just changing some bits, it would be okay and FP2 went alright.
“We just tried something different [with the sidepods], but I think the main thing was how they were connected. It was a different sidepod which we haven't run at a track as quick as this one before, so it was good we tried it in FP1. It was a different kind of sidepod [to Silverstone], so it was a little bit different an issue.”
The Finn denied that the sidepod had been tweaked to help cooling, and insisted that losing the part had not been an issue for the team as 'there was not much performance in it', but the time lost while repairs and checks were made cost vital track time in first practice.
“I've been getting used to sometimes not running at all in FP1, so the few laps that I do was a bonus,” he smiled ruefully, “I felt really good in the car today and we still have FP3 to fine-tune the set-up and for me to find those details.”
Second practice was better for both Bottas and Massa, although they wound up only fifth and tenth respectively, and the Finn remained confident that Williams would still be competitive over the rest of the weekend.
“Everything went to plan [in FP2],” he reported, “We did our normal tests, with some short runs in the beginning and a longer one at the end. It was quite a normal Friday, [although] we still need to fine-tune the set up of the car. On some corners, I struggled quite a lot - sometimes with the front of the car and sometimes with the rear. So we just need to find those bits and the time will come.
“We have some things that should automatically improve our pace for tomorrow. When we turn everything up, it should be better, but it's difficult to see how close to the Mercedes we can get.”
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