Pastor Maldonado admits Williams enjoyed a 'wonderful' first test with new FW35 car
But Pastor not sure yet where Williams are in the pecking order
By James Galloway in Barcelona
Last Updated: 22/02/13 6:25pm
After prioritising further development time on the 2013 challenger over four days of initial track testing with it at Jerez earlier this month, Williams debuted the FW35 at this week's Barcelona test and, as Maldonado explained on Friday, chose to prove the car's reliability rather than focus on set-up work.
That strategy proved beneficical as up until the rain-affected final day when Williams opted to exclusively complete pitstop practice, they were the only team to complete more than 300 laps in total around the Circuit de Catalunya.
Maldonado admitted the car's first week couldn't have gone better car and the team now had a lot of data around Barcelona to pour over before the start of the next test here.
"We had a wonderful four days. No problems in the car," he declared when speaking to reporters on Friday evening.
"The car is looking quite good in terms of reliability, even in terms of performance, but it's still quite early to see where we are but we are doing our best to be there in the first race.
"This is early days for the car, only four days, but I think the next test next week we will have more clear ideas. We got good data from here, we have a lot of data to compare and a victory from last year, so we have a lot to compare.
"It's looking quite good and the car feels really good as well. Actually, there is a step forward in terms of feeling with the car but we don't know what the other teams have prepared for this season."
The new Williams features a number of new features - and as things stand a controversial vane in its exhaust exit - and Maldonado added: "We have some experimental things in the car, we have been spending out time on trying to get some data. We sacrificed some runs to [get to] know the car and prepare some tests for the future but it's looking quite good. It's looking quite good."
Now with just four more days from next Thursday in which to prepare the car on track for the start of the season, the Venezuelan explained that set-up work would take priority.
"[We need to focus on]everything, especially more on the set-up," he said.
"We didn't try different try different set-ups here because it was very important to put mileage on the car. But even then we had a reasonable set-up on the car which was not bad. We can improve it still, there is a lot of margin, and next week we will push in this direction."
After completing a race simulation earlier in the week, Maldonado admitted he had expected to complete more pitstops during it, although didn't feel Williams were particularly experiencing fewer tyre issues than anyone else.
"We've been surprised as well. We planned a few more pitstops for the race sim, but we did less," he replied when asked to reflect on the long run.
"We need to check the condition of the others as well but we knew that all the teams are tying to survive with the tyres. These tyres are very sensitive, as soon as you pushed very hard on them they got destroyed immediately. The problem is graining for everybody, especially on this track the long, fast corners, but it's the same for everyone.
"I've been around just looking at other cars and they have more or less a similar problem for us. Maybe we can improve on the tyres but everyone can improve."