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Crash EXCLUSIVE: Sam Michael - Q&A.


The AT&T Williams F1 team has managed two podiums this season and notched up 26 points, something that leaves the outfit just three points behind Red Bull Racing heading into the season finale at Interlagos. Crash.net Radio's Rob Wilkins spoke exclusively to technical director Sam Michael recently ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix and got his thoughts on that event - and the year to date...

Sam, the season finale is almost upon us, what can the AT&T Williams F1 team do there?

Sam Michael:
Obviously we will be going to Brazil to try and score the best result possible. It is a track we have done well on before. We have scored two podiums already this year and you never know when another one could come up, especially if something happens at the front.

Williams are only just behind Red Bull Racing in the Constructors' Championship. How critical is it to try and get enough points to overhaul them?

Of course it would be great to get another position in the Constructors'. However, we would need things to go our way quite a bit to do that. But we will go there and give it our best. To do that over one weekend given how tight it is in the midfield will be a challenge but that is what we have to try and do.

Will Interlagos suit the FW30?

Traditionally, as I mentioned, Brazil has been a circuit that Williams has done pretty well at. That is probably because it is dominated by slow speed corners and although there are a couple of high-speed corners there - one of them is flat-out and the other is just before braking for another corner - the effect of them on the lap time is not large. As such it is a track that plays to Williams' advantages. It is a bit bumpy too - but not as much as it was in the past, although it is still bumpier than some of the more 'standard' tracks. Overall then it is a track that suits our car.

Looking at the season as a whole, how do you think it has gone for Williams?

Not as well as planned obviously. F1 is competitive throughout the grid, but regardless of that as a team we haven't done a good enough job. We must correct that now in 2009.

Williams were fourth at the end of 2007 in the constructors' (fifth if you include McLaren), yet this season you are eighth. Looking at that alone one might say the team has gone backwards. How would you answer that?

We didn't plan to drop from fourth in the constructors'. But there are a few reasons for that. Firstly all the teams have had ups and downs in terms of performance - regardless of where they are on the grid. The difference with Williams is that we have failed to score points at the tracks where we are strong - places like Monaco and Montreal - and it doesn't take much to see that those points would have made a significant difference to the outcome in the constructors' table. We probably wouldn't have been in a position where we could finish fourth but we would have been higher up than where we are at the moment.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 4-6th, April, 2008
Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 14-16th, March, 2008
Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director, Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang, Malaysia, 6-8th, April 2007
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