Smedley confident Williams can repeat Austria success

© XPB 

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley is confident the British team can perform well during this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, as it eyes a third consecutive podium finish at the Red Bull Ring.

Spielberg’s return to the F1 calendar in 2014 coincided with Williams’ switch to Mercedes power, and the Grove-based outfit has been consistently fighting at the front in Austria since then, with the Styrian venue playing to the strengths of the Williams cars.

“We are in the middle of a phase of high-speed circuits of which Austria is typical, and as such favours the characteristics of the FW38 and the Mercedes power unit,” Smedley said. “The circuit itself has brought us success in the past, and we have every reason to believe that it will do so again.”

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas locked out the front row of the Austrian GP grid two seasons ago, with the Finn proceeding to claim third in the race. Last year, it was the Brazilian’s turn to appear on the Spielberg rostrum following a nice defending from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Although Smedley warns that Williams will have to deal with a new set of circumstances this weekend, the former Ferrari-man believes the team is well equipped to meet the challenge ahead.

“For this third visit here with the hybrid cars we will see a couple of significant differences. The first is the weather, which is predicted to be unsettled throughout Friday and Saturday, with current forecasts showing Sunday as the only potentially dry day.

“Perhaps more significantly is the fact that the circuit has been completely resurfaced. In the recent European F3 race, teams reported that it was more severe on tyres, which makes the prospect of a dry race following damp practice sessions even more challenging.

“That being said, we would expect to see a two-stop race in Austria and the selected tyre choices seem to reflect that. Whatever conditions are thrown at us I have every confidence that the team will come through to gather a strong haul of points.”

Chris Medland's 2016 Austrian Grand Prix preview

Exclusive Felipe Massa Q&A on a Williams resurgence and his future

Romain Grosjean interview: I can stop Haas sliding

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter