‘Challenging’ day for Williams

By on Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rubens Barrichello sat out today's qualifying session

Lining up 23rd and 24th on the grid for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the first time F1 has seen both cars of Williams Grand Prix Engineering on the back row.

In what has been a poor season for one of Formula One’s most experienced teams, today’s qualifying session at Yas Marina represents a low point. Rubens Barrichello suffered an oil leak during free practice which ultimately proved irreparable before the qualifying session, meaning the experienced Brazilian did not set a time.

Barrichello, however, will start 23rd, one place above team-mate Pastor Maldonado, who picks up a ten-place grid penalty for using a ninth engine of the season. The Venezuelan qualified 17th but will start from 24th, meaning we have an all-Williams back row. While the proto-teams ran by Frank Williams in the early 1970s were accustomed to languishing at the back of the grid, since the formation of the modern Williams Grand Prix Engineering back in the late 1970s, this is the first instance of this happening.

Understandably the team decided to call this ‘a challenging day’. “It’s a long race here and we need to come up with a strong strategy to get a positive result,” said Maldonado. “We’ve obviously been thinking about our strategy all weekend because we’ve known about the grid penalty for a while now. We haven’t decided 100 per cent and we’ll keep working on it tonight to make sure we give ourselves the best possible chance. I will do my best and I know the team will too. We must be confident.”

Barrichello was equally upbeat. “The team tried everything to fix the problem that we had this morning. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to and I couldn’t go out in qualifying. I fully support the team and know we will come through this smiling.”

“We look forward to seeing them attack in the race,” added Williams’ chief operations engineer Mark Gillan.

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