May 10th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - The Spanish Grand Prix marks the start of the European season, and all of the Formula One teams typically use the event to introduce major updates to their cars. Williams are no exception, and this season they perhaps need updates more than ever - at the first four races of 2013, Williams did not manage to score a single point and had a driver eliminated in Q1 of qualifying at each race.
Williams trialled updates to their car last week at Idiada in Spain in a two-day straight-line test. The results were favourable and the updates were therefore brought to the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. Unfortunately for Williams, the first practice session this morning was wet, which makes evaluation of new aerodymanic parts difficult as the spray interferes with airflow over the car. But the afternoon was dry, which provided Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas with an opportunity to carry out testing work for the team.
Williams Technical Director, Mike Coughlan, expressed satisfaction with the results of Friday practice, "We continued to work through some aerodynamic comparisons today following on from the work we started in Idiada last week. We ran a number of different upgrades across both cars, and the initial results are as expected. We have made some small steps but there is still a lot of work to do. In FP2 we did some further tyre work and our long run pace looks more competitive. We lost some time during FP1 due to the wet weather but we completed our planned programme. We'll spend tonight analysing all the data and aim to continuing progressing tomorrow."
The team's next goal is to set the cars up for qualifying and the race, which they will do during third practice tomorrow morning. Both drivers are optimistic about the rest of the weekend, with Pastor Maldonado saying, "We feel a little more positive, but we will analyse everything we tested today and hope to show the improvements in qualifying tomorrow." Valtteri Bottas confirmed the general feeling of progress in the team, saying, "The initial feeling is that we are starting to take steps forward."