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Williams confident it can overcome problems

ESPN Staff
March 19, 2013 « Bird returns to GP2 with Russian Time | McLaren apologises for Webber's ECU problems »
Pastor Maldonado's Australian Grand Prix ended in the gravel © Sutton Images
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Williams technical director Mike Coughlan is optimistic his team will bounce back quickly from its poor performance at the opening race of the season in Australia.

Williams qualified 16th and 17th and only Valtteri Bottas finished the race - in 14th - after Pastor Maldonado spun off. After being knocked out of qualifying in Q1, Maldonado dubbed the FW35 undriveable and Coughlan admitted the team has taken a wrong turn with the development of the car.

"At the moment we don't have enough grip," he said. "That compounds itself in tyre wear and tyre warm up, so I don't think it's a specific thing to blame on the tyre. We're not producing enough grip."

However, when asked if it would take several races to solve, Coughlan added: "I don't think so. The car is so similar to last year's car and we've not changed anything fundamentally. Even though a lot of the components are new, we haven't changed anything fundamentally.

"What we've done is go down an avenue that hasn't reaped a reward and what we've got to do now is take a step back from that and look at some of the set-ups from last year and some of the aerodynamic things we did last year. Then we'll reassess it and go again. Certainly Malaysia will be an interesting Friday for us.

"At the first Barcelona test when the car first ran we really thought the car was quite competitive. We haven't taken it forward and if anything we've taken it backwards. Some teams have moved forward - Lotus and Red Bull have looked strong all the time - so I think we've got some homework to do yet."

After bringing two aerodynamic packages to Melbourne, Coughlan decided to revert to the launch specification of the car after the updates clearly proved to be having a negative effect.

"We went back to the launch [specification] purely because the drivers were more comfortable at the first test, and the cooling is a little bit easier with that bodywork, so we thought that was probably a better base with fewer unknowns. We'll maybe have a comparison again in Malaysia depending on the temperatures."