Unreliability and driver errors hold Williams back

2011 Australian GP team review

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Williams made a disastrous start to 2011 with both cars qualifying towards the back of the field and being hit by unreliability.

Rubens BarrichelloPastor Maldonado
Qualifying position1715
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’26.768
Race position
Pit stops30


Rubens Barrichello114.97196.90395.92394.56495.97994.52794.15695.00695.79795.23594.94794.714114.44899.00292.51292.6194.16992.91193.07893.31793.3794.15144.606101.1192.04292.06591.576105.03100.29493.70692.15192.29792.55392.20692.27995.16793.24792.67692.876115.064103.53393.48892.64691.94991.6991.69591.40493.617
Pastor Maldonado113.20998.45397.54396.56895.90494.59594.10295.04196.521
Pastor Maldonado, Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Melbourne, 2011
Pastor Maldonado, Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Melbourne, 2011

Rubens Barrichello

Having been fifth in the first practice session on Friday, Barrichello’s Q1 pace showed he had the potential to make the top ten.

But he spun off early in Q2 at turn three – where he would come to grief several times during the weekend. That ended his session and left him 17th on the grid.

At the start of the race he was squeezed into the same gravel trap but kept going and was soon after 14th. He had to make an early pit stop with a slow leak on a front tyre which delayed him further.

Barrichello recovered with a gutsy move on Kamui Kobayashi for ninth at turn three. Two laps later, while trying to keep clear of a counter-attack, he braked too late at turn three and crashed into Nico Rosberg.

He was handed a drive-through penalty and later retired with a transmission failure.

Barrichello said: “I had a good rhythm going and was doing quite a lot of overtaking until the incident with Rosberg.

“I wasn?t planning on overtaking him at that point, I was defending from Kobayashi. I think we have one tyre with grip and one with less and so we have different braking points. Rosberg braked earlier, and was already in the middle of the corner before I could stop the car.”

Pastor Maldonado

Maldonado never got within two seconds of Barrichello during practice.

He slipped back from his grid position of 15th at the start and had just recovered the position from Sergio Perez when his transmission failed.

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    33 comments on “Unreliability and driver errors hold Williams back”

    1. Multiple transmission failures does not bode well for Williams’ much talked about mini-gearbox. Perhaps, like McLaren, their pièce de résistance is a piece of ****.

      1. And unlike the McLaren, putting a more standard bit on while trying to find the right materials to get it to be reliably before putting it on again, this gearbox is an integral part of the car. I hope a different ride-height and less cerbs can cure it, or something.

      2. Do agree they made a smaller gear box & it is the thing that is causing all the trouble.

    2. Rubens seemed a bit all over this weekend and seemed to have a soft spot for gravel the amount of times he was in it. His move on Kobayashi was nothing short of fantastic but then he could have been mistaken for a rookie with his move on Rosbger. As I said on another article, how to go from hero to zero in a couple of laps.

      The less said about Pastor’s weekend the better as your article seems to suggest although there really wasn’t that much to comment on :P

      1. It’s still early days, but it would seem that Maldonado has more money than he does tallent. To be two seconds of your team mate in qualifying is quite a margin.

        1. In Q1 it was 0.02 seconds not 2 seconds :)

      2. Rubens didn’t think too much before overtaking, but with Rosberg that was way too optimistic.

        1. I think instead of optimistic it was slight bully tactics. He wasn’t expecting to take Rosberg by them both equally making the corner. He was expecting him to see him in his mirrors and get out the way.

          Rubens should never have tried it and was a move I would expect from Maldonado, not someone who’s raced in over 300 Grand Prix.

          1. Did anybody read the article before their blog?

            1. I always read the articles first. That’s why I bother coming to this site or I’d just ramble on the Autosport forums! :P

          2. Actually, I think he got caught out by how early the Mercedes had to brake, rather than anything else.

            1. I don’t agree with that. The cars came together at the corner and Barichello had just used the KERS button moments before the impact. Rosberg had no bame whatsoever. Barichello even attempted to blame the tyres for the accident. I haven’t heard of the out come of the stewards investigationof the incident, becausd other drivers had got penalties for less.

        2. Rubens commented on that he was not even trying to overtake there. Just looking more in his mirrors to defend from Kobayashi behind, using KERS as well and not noticing Rosberg already braked a lot earlier then Rube expected.

          Still it looked like a pretty big mind fade there.

      3. McLarenFanJamm
        29th March 2011, 12:36

        I agree with Steph that Rubens seemed all over the place for most of the weekend. had he not spun in Q2 would he have been quite so hot headed during the race? Who knows.

        Apparently, he was defending from Kobayashi when he drove into the side of Rosberg, concentrating more on his KERS button and his mirrors than the car in front and his own braking zone. Personally, I don’t think a drive-through penalty is enough for taking a competitor out of the race (whether intended or not) should have been at least a stop-go but there you are.

        As a side note, I thought the stewards had an indifferent race.

    3. Maldanado, did alright after practice I thought. In Q1, he wasn’t far behind Barrichello, and he was doing alright in the race before he retired.

      1. I think there are much worse debuts for a rookie than his for certain.

        Williams will have some headaches about the transmission though.

    4. This car’s been rather unreliable in different areas all over testing, and now the race, hopefully they can sort out that gearbox. But people were saying that reliability is a big factor in a design like that.

      Maldonado should have done better in qualifying, considering the car he has. Perez and Di Resta I think are doing much better with the cars they have.

    5. I think it’s unfair only to mention that Maldonado was 2 seconds slower in practice. He was only a few thousandths off in q1. Also, people are praising di Resta for out-qualifying his team-mate who spun, but not Maldonado who also out-qualified a team-mate who made a mistake. I don’t think that’s fair.

      1. Well it’s simple! It’s because Maldonado is a pay driver who only won the strongest F1 feeder series because no other competitive drivers were left, whereas di Resta is a future champion because he beat Vettel a few years ago in F3 and won that greatest of racing series, DTM.

        1. McLarenFanJamm
          29th March 2011, 12:43

          Maldonado outqualified Barrichello because Barrichello spun before setting a laptime in Q2. Sutil had already set a hotlap before the one he spun on, which Di Resta had bettered and there was nothing in the lap that Sutil ruined to suggest he was going to beat Di Resta’s time.

    6. US Williams Fan
      28th March 2011, 20:04

      Heres to hoping that they get together for the next race in Malaysia!

    7. It’s a shame Rubens shot himself in the foot with that clumsy move and then his car blew up. He was going FAST!

      1. I agree, Rubens was very fast if you take a look at the lap times before the incident. Very very fast! Go Rubinho!

    8. Defending from Kobayashi? Forgive me if I’m wrong but hadn’t he already pulled away by then? It was a rookie error and thats all there is to it!

      Definately a shame though cause he was flying at the time! I can kinda see how its done, I’ve raced karts and occasionally you really feel in the zone and are just flying past people, then you come up against someone who doesn’t just leave you space and you crash, simple as. An experienced driver like Rubens should be past that though.

      Shame cause I love williams and I’ve always liked Rubens, but the fault here is definately with the driver.

    9. snickerson (@)
      29th March 2011, 2:25

      I know Maldonado wasn’t impressive, but “Maldonado never got within two seconds of Barrichello during practice” isn’t true – he was one second slower in P1.

    10. Expected better then that from Barrichello.Tough day for the team.

    11. Alberto Gonzalez
      29th March 2011, 5:53

      Maldonado had just passed Perez when his car gave up.

      He could have ended top ten along with Rubens.

      Pastor’s car often broke during the tests, and he didn’t get as many miles as Rubens.

      Considering this was his 1st race in Australia, Rubens should have outqualified and outpace him by a wide margin. He did not.

      Pastor is the one who should have made Rubens’ mistakes, but he kept the car on track and was passing before his FW33 stopped.

      So, Maldonado does have good speed.

      I look forward to seeing him with a reliable FW33 in Monaco or Spa, tracks where he won in GP2.

    12. In my eyes FW33 is a great car. If they sort out their reliability I think they will be really quick. Their “tight” rear end (as Sam Micheal discribes it!!!) generates a great deal of downforce which helps their tires not to degrate as fast as Ferrari for example.

      Pastor was good too. He never drove in Melbourne in the past (I am not sure, correct me if I am wrong) and Rubens has been there at least 4.000 times!!!! So is logical to be slower than the most experienced guy in the grid.

      Barrichelo’s mistake was based on his frustration. He had great potential to be in top 6 or 7 (in my opinion) and blew it at Q2. Then the incident in first lap of the race, and then the puncher. When I saw him behind Kamui i was impressed. His lap times were great, and stable as well.

      You can say that is risky or ignorant but I am telling you anyway….. this car is really good. In the hands either of them it can be a winner. Pastor is great at Monaco, Barrichelo is good everywhere. In a tricky and unpredictable race anything can happen.

      1. Yes. it’s a great car. They can win this year & Rubens is still so fast!!! Go Williams >>

    13. Keith, the key looks the wrong way round…

      1. It isn’t.

    14. The most under performing team of the weekend for me, maybe even more so than Mercedes and Ferrari. Like Brundle said, there is some core pace in that Williams, which is more than can be said for the last few cars they’ve made. I think a few races in and the reliability problems could perhaps be gone, fingers crossed!

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