LONDON: Bahrain’s decision to call off the season-opening Formula One Grand Prix has made a “massive difference” for teams racing to develop their new cars, according to Williams technical director Sam Michael.
The Bahrain authorities decided on Monday to postpone the March 13 race due to bloody anti-government street protests in the country.
Australia will now host the opener on March 27, with a pre-season test scheduled for Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya from March 8-11 before that race at Melbourne’s Albert Park.
“I think it just gives you a lot more time to refine things and have a nicer package,” Michael told Reuters in an interview before the team showed off the livery of their new FW33 car.
“Obviously, you’d always make the first race and be there and do the best with what you’ve got but you are always a little bit ragged at the first race ... having two weeks extra makes a massive difference in Formula One because it’s such a long time.
“It’s quite surreal at the moment actually, because everything in Formula One is geared around deadlines and not having deadlines that shift. Then to suddenly have one that shifts by two weeks is massive.”
Michael compared it to someone producing a new road car and being told he had another three months to work on it or a aircraft maker being given a further six months to finish off building a jet.
“Two weeks is an eternity in Formula One,” he said.
“You use a couple of days to tidy up the things you were tight on and then you are straight into development, trying to bring things forward that you’ve now got more resource to do.”
Williams had planned to take specific cooling parts to Bahrain that had yet to be manufactured.
The delay freed up time, even if the parts will still be required for the third round of the season in Malaysia, where temperatures are also high.
“We have a first race upgrade package which will be on the car in its entirety for the Barcelona test,” said Michael. — Reuters