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F1 Malaysian Grand Prix: Gap to Ferrari is a concern, says Smedley

Williams' Rob Smedley admits the deficit to Ferrari is a “concern” following last weekend's 2015 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix
Williams' head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley has admitted the gap to Ferrari is a “concern”.

After a relatively poor qualifying in Malaysia last weekend, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa recovered to finish fifth and sixth.

However, disappointingly both were way behind Sebastian Vettel, over a minute off the winner at the finish, while Kimi Raikkonen also beat them in the sister Ferrari and took P4, despite starting further back and despite getting a puncture on the opening lap.

“Of course I am concerned,” Smedley told reporters, including Crash.net, after the second round in the 2015 F1 World Championship. “To be 60 seconds behind at the end of the race, absolutely it is a concern. It would be quite remiss of me to say I wasn't concerned about that, but there are certain bits of it, like the fact Sebastian could do one less stop than us, that certainly helped him. That is where we need to start concentrating.

“At the same time we need to develop the whole car package and keep pushing on with that. So, yeah it is a concern - if anybody is in front, it doesn't matter what colour their car is, and we just have to keep pushing on and make sure we are developing at a faster rate than them and if we do that, we will close the gap.

“It is very simple.”

Smedley also confirmed that there was no way they could have done two stops.

“I think it [the tyre management issues] are a combination of a lot of things really and I think that is part and parcel of what we need to do now,” he explained. “There is a car package based deficit and it is not as if we should shy away from that. There is a car package based deficit now from both Mercedes and from Ferrari. We have to work hard to improve that. But at the same time, currently, we have to look at our tyre management and see how we manage the tyres.

“Why were there cars in the race that could do one less stop than us? That is a really key point. And it is not that we look at it afterwards and say we could have done one less stop. We couldn't.

“The key factor here is that we have to understand as a group of people that there is work to do in that area. It is like everything, you have got a deficit and you have got a deficit in all areas. It is never one area and you don't have this one eureka moment where you unlock half a second or a second from the car.

“We have just got to go away and do our due diligence and we will do it right and we will find the right answers.”

Meanwhile, Smedley noted he was pleased to see his former team get the victory and end its win drought.

“I am happy for the guys there,” he continued. “I think they have gone through a period of abject misery over the last few years given their resources and their budget. It is good to see that they are having some pay back for the hard work. They are not a bunch of idiots by any means and never have been and today you have seen how formidable Ferrari can be when they are running at their best. I have got lots of friends down there and I am pleased for them.”
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
(L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams with Rob Smedley (GBR) Williams Head of Vehicle Performance. 22.02.2015.
06.11.2014 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36 and Rob Smedley (GBR) Williams Head of Vehicle Performance
04.04.2014- Free Practice 1, Rob Smedley (GBR) Williams Martini Racing Engineer
07.11.2014 - Free Practice 2, Rob Smedley (GBR) Williams Head of Vehicle Performance

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April 04, 2015 11:31 AM

The F15T is easy to set-up, and is more kinder to its tyres with less down force, and most important and something which nobody is talking about is, for the first time since the introduction of the new engine formula during the Malaysian GP someone used less fuel then a PU106B. The above might seem/sound contradictory and impossible but facts show otherwise. At the winter tests both WO6 drivers complained/lamented the tricky set-up and handling, while both F15T drivers praised the easy to set-up the car, while Vettel during testing in Malaysia was shedding down force to set-up the car for the race up to that point when he went off, and that set-up was carried into the race (the least down force) the F15T was able to do the race with one less pit stop, it doesn’t seems to make sense (less down force less pit stops less tyre use) but facts proves otherwise, in short the F15T IS a marvel on its tyres.

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