FP1 & FP2 - US GP report: Williams Mercedes
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering
On the whole a good day for us – we completed our programme and looked strong on both high and low fuel runs which is encouraging. Having said that we can expect different conditions over the weekend because the track always evolves the more running we do and we’re also expecting different wind strengths and directions alongside slightly cooler conditions. I think we have a competitive package so a prime target is to make sure that we stay on top of the track evolution.
I always enjoy driving this track and we’ve had a productive day and completed what we set out to do. It was very windy in the afternoon which made it difficult to really judge the car balance and the car was feeling different from the morning to the afternoon because of this, although the wind is likely to change for Saturday and Sunday which may result in us having to adapt our set-up slightly. I’m happy with how the car is feeling and we’re looking on the pace going into the weekend.
We gained a lot of information about temperatures and the tyres in FP2 and seem to have found ways to get more performance out of them. The car was not particularly easy to drive today because of the very windy conditions and it was not easy to find the optimum balance, so we have a lot of work to do tonight to understand the car and its true performance at this track. Personally I still think I can find a bit more lap time out there so FP3 will be a chance to push the limits more.
This was my first time in the FW36 since Barcelona so I had to get back up to speed quickly and this is also a new circuit for me. The track is very fun to drive and has a good flow to it, especially the first sector which has a lot of fast and exhilarating corners. The car has improved a lot since I last drove it with improved grip in all areas and it’s easier to drive. It was a very positive session for me and we managed to cover some good mileage.