JULY 7, 2010
Can Williams take the heat?
Williams technical director Sam Michael says that the team will evaluate Friday practice data from its exhaust blown diffuser before taking a decision on whether to qualify and race with the device.
Unlike a regular exhaust configuration, where the exhaust gases exit above the diffuser, a 'blown' diffuser has the exhaust gases going through it, increasing its efficiency. Red Bull has used the configuration throughout the season, while Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes all debuted their own versions at Valencia. McLaren and Williams will follow suit at Silverstone.
One of the difficulties is that insulation needs to be added around components that were not previously being heated by the exhaust. Mercedes experienced some problems in that area at Valencia and although Williams has done one of F1's permitted straightline tests, the team will evaluate data more relevant to race conditions before committing to racing the new layout.
Michael added: "The FW32's further upgrades for the British Grand Prix include the exhaust blown diffuser, rear brake ducts and front suspension changes."
Rubens Barrichello achieved the team's best result of the season with fourth place in Valencia and is hoping that the upgrades will represent a good step.
"Valencia was a good effort by the team," the Brazilian said. "It was satisfying to see us move forward and I hope that will continue. The Silverstone upgrades should make the car faster again. There's a good vibe in the team to get us back to where we should be and I'm proud to be a part of the effort."
Team mate Nico Hulkenberg is also optimistic, the young German, an Oxford resident, regarding Silverstone as a second home race.