Tag Archives: Williams

Williams to switch to Mercedes engines for 2014

The Williams F1 team are to use Mercedes power units from 2014 onwards, after a new contract was announced today.

Williams have used Renault engines for the last 2 years, and this announcement comes as a surprise to many, seeing as it was believed that the two teams were to develop engines together for the 2014 season.

Since 2005, Williams have switched engine suppliers 4 times – Cosworth twice, Toyota for one year, and Renault for 2012 and 2013. This announcement with Mercedes did not specify how long the agreement would last for.

Having lost one of their clients, Renault have since announced that they will only supply “up to four” teams from next season onwards. Red Bull and Toro Rosso are confirmed to be staying with Renault, while Lotus and Caterham are still a mystery at this point.

Valtteri Bottas to replace Bruno Senna at Williams

Valtteri Bottas will drive alongside Pastor Maldonado at Williams for the 2013 F1 season.

This means that Bruno Senna is out of a race seat for next year. Senna handed over his car 15 times during practice sessions this year to Bottas – a clear indicator that this move was always going to happen.

Valtteri is the second rookie driver to join the F1 paddock for 2013, as Esteban Gutierrez has already been confirmed at Sauber.

Bottas has previously won the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, the 2009 and 2010 Masters of Formula 3 races, and the 2011 GP3 series.

While all drivers concerned stated their usual PR quotes as expected, Bruno Senna has some interesting words to say about his sacking:

"Since the beginning of my program with Williams I accepted that I had to share 
the car with Valtteri Bottas in 15 Fridays as a part of his preparation for a 
likely debut in 2013.
It has been extremely satisfying to be the teams most regular point scorer and for 
me to demonstrate my pace in all 20 races."


Maldonado penalised for impeding Hulkenberg in Q1

Pastor Maldonado will drop to 6th on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Williams driver was docked 3 places for impeding Nico Hulkenberg in Q1 of qualifying today. While Hulkenberg made it through to Q2, the stewards found that he had unnecessarily held up the Force India.

The stewards report appears to be pretty clear on the matter:

“The driver of car 18 [Maldonado] was warned by his team not to hold up car 12 
[Hulkenberg] which was behind him, yet he clearly did impede car 12.

However as car 12 continued into Q2 a more severe penalty was not considered 

With this, Kimi Raikkonen moves up to 3rd on the grid, followed by Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso.

Raikkonen was initially under investigation for cutting the Eau Rouge corners during both of his two laps of Q3. Although all 4 of his wheels were outside of the white line, the stewards noted that  “there was no advantage gained because the exit speed was shown to be slower than on other laps where the car did not leave the track.”

Maldonado leads another rainy session in Germany

Maldonado made the most out of limited dry running

Maldonado made the most out of limited dry running

Pastor Maldonado surprisingly topped the timesheets for second practice for the German Grand Prix, but the session was again disrupted by rain, even heavier than that in FP1.

Michael Schumacher suffered the worst luck, crashing out with four minutes to go in the session. He languished in 23rd, having not set a time in the dryer conditions earlier on.

In the opening stages, only Bruno Senna went out on track, to assess his repaired car after Valtterri Bottas crashed his Williams in first practice.

As conditions improved, the Ferrari drivers and Romain Grosjean traded fastest laps at the top of the timesheets. While it momentarily appeared as if the track would be dry, rain quickly poured again, ruining all chances of car development for the teams.

As well as Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo was also caught out in the tricky conditions, running wide and getting stuck in the gravel at turn 13.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:27.476           14
 2.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:27.564  +0.088   24
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:27.902  +0.426   24
 4.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:28.402  +0.926   26
 5.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:28.420  +0.944   20
 6.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1:28.495  +1.019   22
 7.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:28.513  +1.037   23
 8.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:28.516  +1.040   16
 9.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:28.877  +1.401   21
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:29.327  +1.851   22
11.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:29.364  +1.888   26
12.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:29.719  +2.243   15
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:29.785  +2.309   24
14.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:30.090  +2.614   19
15.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:30.220  +2.744   16
16.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:30.291  +2.815   22
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:30.331  +2.855   26
18.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:30.437  +2.961   14
19.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:30.617  +3.141   16
20.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:31.207  +3.731   20
21.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:32.241  +4.765   22
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:32.349  +4.873   17
23.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:32.777  +5.301   18
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:42.566  +15.090   8

Maldonado handed penalty for deliberate crash

Maldonado swerved into the side of Perez to cause a deliberate crash

Maldonado swerved into the side of Perez to cause a deliberate crash

Pastor Maldonado has been docked 10 places on the grid for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The newest F1 race winner caused a deliberate crash in Saturday practice with Sergio Perez.

As Perez moved off the racing line to allow Pastor past, the Williams driver swerved and slammed into the side of the Sauber, causing damage to both cars. Maldonado crashed several corners later.

After a similar incident in Spa last year with Lewis Hamilton, the stewards have again punished Pastor for another needless crash.

This all but certainly rules him out of challenging for the win on Sunday.


Schumacher hit with 5-place penalty for Monaco

Schumacher was deemed to have caused an avoidable accident

Schumacher was deemed to have caused an avoidable accident

Michael Schumacher has been punished for causing a collision with Bruno Senna at today’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Under braking at turn 1, Michael hit the back of Bruno’s Williams, causing both cars to spear into the gravel trap. Schumacher retired on the spot, while Senna continued on for half a lap before pulling over.

After the incident, Schumacher branded Senna an “idiot”, claiming he moved in the braking zone, but the stewards saw the event differently.

Michael will drop 5 places in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Explosion in Williams garage post-race

Most of the Williams garage has been completely torched

Most of the Williams garage has been completely torched

Early reports have claimed that an explosion has occurred in the Williams garage after the Spanish Grand Prix.

The BBC report that it was caused by a KERS explosion on Pastor Maldonado’s car, which of course sits just below the fuel tank.

The fire was witnessed by both BBC and Sky F1 teams. It is unclear whether there have been any injuries, but at the moment there are several ambulances leaving the scene.

Will be updated as more news comes through.

Here is footage from the BBC:

And from Sky Sports F1:

And more footage from Sky, this time of the fire from the front:

Maldonado takes stunning first victory in Barcelona

Pastor Maldonado has taken his debut victory in Formula 1, holding off a spirited Fernando Alonso throughout the day. Kimi Raikkonen had a late charge to finish 3rd, while Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel had eventful recoveries. Here is what happened:

Alonso pushes past Maldonado at the start

Alonso pushes past Maldonado at the start

At the start, Alonso slipped ahead of Maldonado, while Nico Rosberg split the two Lotuses. Sergio Perez fell to the back with a puncture, while Lewis Hamilton began his recovery drive from 24th.

Felipe Massa had an impressive start, leaping up to 11th, while Charles Pic spun and fell to 23rd.

Alonso begun to eke out a gap between him and the Williams, but soon reported that his front and right left tyres were beginning to degrade. This fear was confirmed on lap 7, when Mark Webber was the first to make a pit stop. A switch to the harder tyre confirmed that the Red Bull was opting for longer stints.

His teammate Vettel did a similar move a lap later. A flurry of cars, including most of the frontrunners, chose to follow this strategy, all stopping on lap 10.

Schumacher harpoons Senna, and both cars are out

Schumacher harpoons Senna, and both cars are out

Hamilton did not stop, and was momentarily up to 4th until the order calmed down. His strategy nearly paid off massively – a safety car was almost called on an incident at turn 1 between Bruno Senna and Michael Schumacher. Defending into the first corner, Senna braked earlier on old tyres, and the Mercedes slammed into the Brazilian, taking both cars out on the spot.

Lewis pitted on lap 15, but another near miss at his pit stop caused a few fears in the garage. As he exited the pits, the McLaren hit off the older tyre, and Hamilton was delayed by several seconds.

Mark Webber had another early stop – this time for a front wing change. He dropped down to 17th place, while Hamilton recovered up to 12th. His next challenge was a familiar one, the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. They tussled for a few laps, before both Massa and Sebastian Vettel were handed drive-through penalties for ignoring yellow flags.

Vergne and Ricciardo tussle, and will soon be passed by Hamilton

Vergne and Ricciardo tussle, and will soon be passed by Hamilton

Maldonado’s second stop came several laps before Alonso’s, and it paid off. The Williams inherited the lead at the second set of stops, holding a 6 second lead over the Ferrari.

The battle for 6th began to materialise, with Nico Rosberg holding up Jenson Button, and Kamui Kobayashi keeping his distance. After several failed moves by Button, Kobayashi lost patience, and dived down the inside of Jenson, and took Rosberg’s position a lap later.

Hamilton’s comeback soon began to slow down, but by no means was over. Approaching the two Toro Rossos, Lewis sweeped around both rookies in several corners, and was up to 10th.

Maldonado pitted for the 3rd time, but disaster struck. A slow wheel change reduced his lead to 3 seconds, and soon he came under fierce pressure from Alonso. Back in 3rd, Kimi Raikkonen held back until the final 10 laps, then began blasting away the 15 second gap – by over a second a lap.

Back in 8th, Sebastian Vettel put a brave move on Jenson Button, outbraking the McLaren on the back straight. Within a few laps, he had caught up to Hamilton, and used DRS to sail past. Another lap later, Rosberg was passed at Campsa corner, leaving the Red Bull back up to 6th.

Maldonado is crowned a race winner

Maldonado is crowned a race winner

Raikkonen’s charge fell just short, leaving Pastor Maldonado clear to take his first ever victory in Formula 1, and the first for Williams since 2004.

Fernando Alonso held off Kimi by 0.6 seconds, with teammate Grosjean in 4th. Kamui Kobayashi was an excellent 5th, and Sebastian Vettel remains on top of the driver’s championship with his 6th place. Nico Rosberg was 7th, the McLarens 8th and 9th, and Nico Hulkenberg 10th.

It was an incredible drive from the Venezuelan, who withstood massive pressure throughout the race, and continued on despite a few scares. Alonso and Raikkonen did well, but today truly belongs to Pastor Maldonado.

Hamilton thrown out of qualifying for fuel-related stoppage, Maldonado now on pole position

Pastor Maldonado will take his first ever pole position

Pastor Maldonado will take his first ever pole position

Lewis Hamilton has been excluded from Spanish GP qualifying, as the team illegally didn’t fuel up his car to the correct amount required.

FIA article 6.6 states that if a fuel sample is required from a car (all cars in Q3 are required), then “the car concerned must first have been driven back to the pits under its own power”.

Hamilton stopped on track at Campsa corner, about half way through the track. It is understood that he did have the fuel amount required when he stopped, but was instructed to pull over by his mechanics. More than likely, if he had continued on, he would have dropped below the limit.

Lewis will start the Spanish Grand Prix from the back of the grid, behind the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan – who was allowed to race despite being 1.8 seconds outside the 107% rule.

According to Gary Anderson of the BBC, a McLaren engineer “turned the [fuel] tap to ‘drain’ instead of ‘fill’ briefly, realised his error but engineers sent car out.”

This of course leaves Pastor Maldonado on pole position for tomorrow’s race. If he can hold the pace he showed in qualifying, we will be in for a fascinating race.

Hamilton snatches Spanish pole position from Maldonado

Lewis Hamilton will start on pole position for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.

It was no easy cruise though – Pastor Maldonado was all set to go fastest, until Lewis’ final attempt put him on top. Jenson Button and Mark Webber didn’t even make it into Q3, while Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher opted to stay out of Q3. Here is what happened:


The track remained silent for several minutes, until Paul di Resta exited the pits 5 minutes into the session. His first lap was disrupted by a slow Marussia, however.

Fernando Alonso went straight out on the soft tyre, setting a 1:24.326 to go on top. Kimi Raikkonen was on the hard tyre, and posted a 1:24.580. Sergio Perez, and then Lewis Hamilton, took over the top spot. Michael Schumacher set the fastest time in Sector 1, but only managed 3rd.

Pastor Maldonado soon went half a second faster than anyone else. His 1:23.380 time put him well on top of the timesheets with 5 minutes to go. The Red Bulls stayed in the pits until the final 5 minutes, both taking on the softer compound. Sebastian Vettel was half a second off Maldonado, while Mark Webber moved into 3rd. Kimi Raikkonen got within a tenth of the Williams.

His teammate Romain Grosjean soon overtook Pastor, improving his time by several hundreths of a second. In the final minute, Lewis Hamilton was briefly in danger of being knocked out, but quickly shot back up to 1st, another half second improvement.

Bruno Senna and Jean-Eric Vergne battled it out to survive Q1, but the Williams driver dramatically spun out in sector 3, leaving his beached car in 18th place for tomorrow. Narain Karthikeyan will appear before the stewards to try to start the race, as his HRT was miles outside the 107% rule.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Bruno Senna – 1:24.981

19) Vitaly Petrov – 1:25.277

20) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:25.507

21) Charles Pic – 1:26.582

22) Timo Glock – 1:27.032

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:27.555

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:31.122


Q2 saw several high-profile shocks, as both Jenson Button and Mark Webber were knocked out of Q2.

Webber decided not to set a lap time in the final few minutes, hoping his 1:22.977 would be enough – which it wasn’t. He will start just behind Jenson Button, who complained of massive understeer in his McLaren.

Like Q1, Pastor Maldonado briefly went fastest, but this time held it, leading Lewis Hamilton. Kamui Kobayashi went 9th, but slowed to a halt at turn 3, and was unable to take any part in Q3.

Felipe Massa was a dismal 17th, just a few hundreths off the Toro Rosso drivers.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Jenson Button – 1:22.944

12) Mark Webber – 1:22.977

13) Paul di Resta – 1:23.125

14) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:23.177

15) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:23.265

16) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:23.442

17) Felipe Massa – 1:23.447


Unlike the other two sessions, Sebastian Vettel spent an entire minute sitting at the end of the pit lane, desperate to be first out on track.

However, when the session started, he simply cruised around for a single lap then pitted, indicating he is saving tyres for tomorrow’s race. This tactic was copied by Michael Schumacher, and both cars will start 8th and 9th.

Lewis Hamilton was the first to set a time, with a 1:22.5. It took until the final 5 minutes for this to be challenged, with Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen moving close to Hamilton’s time.

Fernando Alonso went fastest, to the delight of the Spanish crowd. It was short lived though, as Pastor Maldonado caused one of the shocks of the year so far, snatching top spot with just a few minutes to go.

He would have taken pole position, if not for a last-gasp dash by Hamilton to go half a second clear at the front. However, the McLaren was told to turn off his car near Campsa corner, and his car will surely be heavily checked in scrutineering.

Any steward action aside, Hamilton and Maldonado will start from the front row, with Alonso and Grosjean behind. Raikkonen, Perez and Rosberg are 5th, 6th and 7th.