x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pastor Maldonado hopeful of better to come at Williams

The Williams driver talks to Gary Meenaghan about his first season in the sport and his team's difficult start.

Your team have had an eventful few days with Sam Michael, the technical director, and Jon Tomlinson, the chief aerodynamicist, announcing they will resign at the end of the season and Mike Coughlan coming in. What are your views on the changes?

For sure, we are living in a very important moment in the team because of the change of management. We have had a very bad start to the season, especially because of the car problems. The potential is still there though and it is big, but we have not put everything together yet. We have found problems during the races. I am just waiting to have a better car and to improve race by race. If the changes are good for the team, then great.

This circuit is one you know well from your time in GP2, but you have never raced here when it has been raining. How does that change things for you this weekend?

It's not a problem, I quite like the wet. It might even be better for us, but we need to be quick with any situation: dry, wet or humid. It is a bit colder here than in previous races. It is more like the winter tests and in the winter tests the car was more competitive. We have made improvements to the car. We have a new aerodynamics package here - quite a big one - and I just hope to be competitive. The package is new, so it is something to get to know and discover, but it will be difficult. We have made a big change to the car, but now we start from zero.

Your sponsors have brought a lot more money to the team. Do you expect more investment to improve the car?

It is very difficult for me to talk about that. I will be happy if we start to change, have a better car and be more competitive, but I think the potential is still there. Even this year we can do a very good job. The team is not far away - yes, maybe Red Bull and McLaren are far away, but the other teams are not so far in the championship race.

What are the expectations ahead of this weekend?

It is hard to say because of the weather conditions. Reliability has been an issue for us; the gearbox was a problem in the first race and again in second. The last race we improved that and both cars finished, so we are happy for that, but a finish is not good enough. We need to do better than just finish. We hope to be very competitive here. We lost a lot of time in slow corners in the past, but this track is not so slow.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae