Williams will head to Australia for the first race of 2014 brimming with confidence after Valtteri Bottas brought their pre-season preparations to a close with second fastest on the final day of testing in Bahrain.
Bottas had topped the timesheets for a large part of the day, before an engine failure, caused by heavy wear, saw him stop out on track, the first and only time the FW36 caused a red flag over the course of 12 days of testing.
While Lewis Hamilton ultimately pipped the Finn to the fastest spot on the day, the 2008 champion failed to match Felipe Massa’s lap of 1:33:258 set on the penultimate day of running, meaning Williams officially leave Bahrain with the fastest lap of pre-season testing in the Gulf State.
The 936 laps completed by the Grove-based squad over the course of the 12 days of testing – only Mercedes completed more – should also leave the team assured of the reliability of the FW36, a factor which many consider will dominate results in the opening phase of the season.
“I think our final day of testing was very good, right up to a very unlucky failure just one run before the end,” said Bottas. “Overall, it was a still a good day as we had no other issues throughout and made a lot of progress with the car set-up.
“I think with this amount of testing we are as prepared for Melbourne as we can be. The team has done a great job and thank you also to Mercedes-Benz. We still need to work very hard in these next two weeks but I overall I’m happy with how testing has gone for us.
“As I didn’t have the chance to do a quick time on the supersoft tyre today, I am looking forward to picking up where we left off when we get to Melbourne.”
Rod Nelson, Williams Chief Test & Support Engineer added: “It was another good day for the Williams Mercedes FW36 to bring winter testing to a conclusion here in Bahrain.
“We ran a similar programme with Valtteri as we did with Felipe yesterday, starting off with some chassis and aero tests this morning. We did some long runs after the lunch break to look at tyre degradation before moving on to a qualifying simulation.
“Towards the end of simulation, and before we were able to fit the supersoft tyres, we had a high mileage failure in the Internal Combustion Engine. With the number of laps we have put on it, it wasn’t a big surprise but it was still a shame that Valtteri couldn’t get that final chance to push.
“However, with an overall team total of 936 laps under our belt, we are still pleased that that is the only time the FW36 has stopped on track throughout testing. We end the pre-season running feeling very happy with the car, power unit, drivers and team.
“Everything is working together as it should and we are pleased with the direction that the team is going in.”
Image courtesy of Williams F1 Team