- First Barcelona Test, Day One
FW35 is 'a big improvement' - Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado described the FW35 as "a big improvement" after his first day in the new Williams at Barcelona.
The new car was launched in the pit lane ahead of the first day of the second test at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Maldonado at the wheel for its first laps in anger. Having ended the day with the fifth-fastest time, Maldonado said he was happy with how the day had progressed and was certain the car was a major step forward for the team.
"I am quite happy, the car is quite good, especially as we have good data here from last year," Maldonado said. "So there is a step - I can feel the step - and the car feels very comfortable on the track. We didn't push for any lap time today as the car is completely new so our main target is to put mileage on the car. Actually it was quite good and I'm happy to start like that with many laps and no problems with the car and on top of that good performance at the same time.
"There is improvement, a big one for sure. It's a step forward; I guarantee that. So we need to work very hard on the car still, it's quite young. We didn't try any different set-ups or different things in the car so we need to understand the tyres better to make them work with this car so there's still a long way to go but we are ready to improve and we are quite happy."
Maldonado also admitted that he could feel a big difference between the new car and the car he drove to victory in Barcelona nine months ago.
"[It feels] completely different. It's a completely different car, a different feeling; this car feels more easy to drive. But easy doesn't mean quick so we need to wait a little bit and we need more time. We need more time to get to the bottom of the car but the car seems to be very good."
When asked if it felt like a race-winning car, Maldonado replied: "I think I'm going to enjoy this car during the season. We can do something good."