Maldonado and Williams find ‘solution’ to FW35 problems

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Pastor Maldonado endured a disastrous weekend last time out in Australia, qualifying in 17th place before retiring from the race without bothering the points. Both he and teammate Valtteri Bottas cited the FW35 as being “problematic”, reasoning their poor showing, but Maldonado believes that Williams have found the solution.

“We think we see the problems and we have the solution. But we need to test it and we have different things to test on both cars. Then we will see if it is right or not.

“You never know if what you do will be the right thing for the car, but I’m pretty confident the team has done the right thing in the last three days.”

Maldonado, who won last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, compared the new car to the FW33 he drove during his debut season in 2011. Williams went on to have their worst year ever, scoring just five points between their two cars. Although the pace of Valtteri Bottas improved towards the end of the race in Australia, Maldonado did not save his words over Williams’ performance.

“What happened [in Australia] was the worst that can happen. Now for sure, with the analysis we’ve done, it’s clear where the problems are. Theoretically we have the solution but now we must do the tests very well and we have a good plan for the test. Hopefully it will be good.”

Maldonado will be hoping to finish for the first time in Malaysia, having retired in both the 2011 and 2012 races.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”