Skip to content

Williams bullish on upgrades, past history for breakout Spanish GP

May 6, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

Williams-Bahrain Getty Images

It was two years ago at the Spanish Grand Prix that Pastor Maldonado delivered one of Formula One’s biggest upsets, when he drove his Williams to victory and held off hometown hero Fernando Alonso of Ferrari to win the 2012 race.

Flash forward to 2014 and the reborn Williams team, now with Mercedes engines, a better car on paper, a completely different driver lineup and strength in depth on the technical and engineering fronts, seeks another win, or simply its first podium of the season.

Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa have shown excellent pace throughout the early portion of the 2014 campaign, and Massa’s starts the last two races have been great.

But for a bit of luck, neither’s made the podium yet. Despite his double charge through the field in Australia, Bottas ended only fifth there; the timing of the Safety Car in Bahrain negated the podium shot for both drivers there as Massa and Bottas ran third and fourth for most of the race.

This could well be Williams’ weekend, though. Williams Martini Racing Head of Vehicle Performance Rob Smedley described the team’s updates and game plan heading into the weekend in its pre-race release.

“Spain is a good leveller. Getting back to Europe gives teams the opportunity to bring further upgrades, which we will also be doing,” he said. “Barcelona and the following two or three races gives everyone a good indication of how the rest of the season will play out and who has made the most progress since the start of the season. The teams and drivers know the track well, meaning we can gain a lot of accurate data on how the upgrades are working.”

Massa, who won the Spanish GP in 2007 and scored his most recent podium finish at this race last year (third for Ferrari), is bullish on the upgrades and thinks he could match the result this weekend.

“I know what it takes to win at the circuit so I can have a little confidence when driving there,” he said. “Downforce is really important in Spain so we have to make sure the aerodynamic set-up is correct. We have been working on developing the car in this area.”

Bottas was quick to note that although teams have a wealth of data with this track, they haven’t yet tested at Barcelona with this new car.

“We haven’t driven in Spain with the current car, which is unusual as in previous years we completed a lot of laps in testing, so we all know the layout well, but will need to work on the set-up,” said the Finn.

If Maldonado’s win two years ago was a surprise, a similar result wouldn’t be as much of one this year given the team’s pace to start the 2014 campaign.

Latest Posts
  1. IndyCar: Kanaan wins Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am charity kart race (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    KanaanTMSP1-2 Getty Images

    More than a dozen former and current IndyCar drivers take part in the special event that honors the late two-time Indy 500 champ and raises money for Alzheimer’s research.

  2. NASCAR: Tough Kentucky track awaits Regan Smith this evening

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Kentucky Speedway - Day 1 Getty Images

    With seven races left in the Nationwide schedule, can Smith start making up ground on teammate Chase Elliott in the championship?

  3. IMSA: Ganassi holds on for COTA win; Viper, 8Star big winners

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

    PruettCOTAWin Getty Images

    Ganassi Riley-Ford, 8Star Motorsports, Vipers win in COTA.

  4. Wendy Venturini to become first female to call Sprint Cup race on radio Sunday at New Hampshire

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy WendyVenturini.com) (Photo courtesy WendyVenturini.com)

    When Wendy Venturini walks into the press box at New Hampshire Motor Speedway prior to Sunday’s Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup race, she will become part of NASCAR history.

  5. Red Bull GRC: Scott Speed scores third win of 2014 in Los Angeles Race 1

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:03 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    The Red Bull GRC championship tightens dramatically after the first race of the weekend in L.A.

  6. Ty Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr. on front row for Saturday night’s NNS race at Kentucky

    Sep 20, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT

    Ty Dillon KY 2014 Getty Images

    Ty Dillon is bound and determined to give it his all to win the Nationwide Series championship this season. He took a big step Saturday afternoon by earning the pole for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 later that evening at Kentucky Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. will start on the outside of the front row.

  7. WATCH: Red Bull Global Rallycross begins doubleheader weekend in L.A.

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    CLICK HERE for stream links to the first of two GRC finals this weekend from Los Angeles.

  8. 16-year-old Cole Custer becomes youngest-ever winner of NASCAR national series race

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    UNOH 175 Getty Images

    Custer holds off Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Crafton to win the Camping World Truck Series’ UNOH 175 at New Hampshire.

  9. F1 Qualifying Analysis: Missed opportunities allow Hamilton to rule again

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari and Red Bull could have – perhaps even should have – been in the mix for pole position. Mercedes was simply too good for them, once again, though.

  10. Tyler Clary hopes to go from Olympic gold medal swimmer to NASCAR driver

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Tyler Clary 2014

    Head-to-head, there’s very few Sprint Cup drivers that can beat Jimmie Johnson. But Tyler Clary can kick Johnson’s butt any time he wants to.

  11. Red Bull GRC: Friday recap from Los Angeles (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Friday recap from Red Bull GRC in LA is in the books.

  12. Engine glitch leaves Grosjean fuming over the radio in Singapore

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    “We break our balls to make a good qualifying and you lose five-tenths every single straight line because the thing cuts” – tough talk from the Frenchman.

  13. Vettel thinks pole was possible in Singapore

    Sep 20, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Defending world champion disappointed to only finish fourth in qualifying at Marina Bay.

  14. Magnussen: McLaren can’t be happy with today (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Reaching Q3 for the seventh race in a row not enough for Magnussen.

  15. Jeff Gordon posts quickest lap in final Sprint Cup practice at N.H.

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 - Practice Getty Images

    For the first time all weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, someone else besides Brad Keselowski got to the top of the leaderboard.

  16. Alonso happy with fifth in Singapore GP qualifying (VIDEO)

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Ferrari looked to be in the running for pole in Singapore, but Alonso is still pleased with fifth place on the grid.

  17. Ricciardo: Red Bull closer to Mercedes than expected

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Australian driver qualifies third for the Singapore Grand Prix ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.

  18. NASCAR: Cole Custer on pole for Truck Series at N.H.

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT

    Carneros 200 - Qualifying Getty Images

    The 16-year-old earns his second career Truck Series pole ahead of today’s UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  19. Rosberg frustrated to fall 0.007 seconds short of pole

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    The F1 championship leader falls agonizingly short of pole position in qualifying for the Singapore GP on Saturday.

  20. Hamilton fights back for pole despite mistake on Q3 lap

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying Getty Images

    Briton makes up for an error at the first corner to beat teammate Nico Rosberg by just 0.007 seconds.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (1987)
  2. J. Gordon (1578)
  3. K. Harvick (1475)
  4. K. Busch (1442)
  5. M. Crafton (1351)