Felipe Massa and Williams technical chief Pat Symonds disagree over whether the team needs to change its Formula 1 qualifying tactics after Massa’s Spanish Grand Prix Q1 exit.
Massa cited the team’s timing plan after being knocked out in the first part of Barcelona qualifying and ending up 18th. Williams was one of the last teams to head out in Q1 and planned to only do one run as it felt that would be sufficient to get through.
However, Massa says he encountered traffic and by the time he pitted and rejoined the fray, there was not enough time for a second lap.
“I lost time in corner three behind [Daniil] Kvyat and I lost time especially, and this was the worst, behind [Fernando] Alonso,” he said. “We go out too late in the first session, most of the other teams went before us. If you don’t do a clean lap you need to go again, which is what most others did. We tried but it was wrong timing plan.
“We lost a bit of time to go because they put the car on the floor and the blanket was below so they had to raise again the car and then we lost a bit of time, so it was not enough to do another lap. I lost minimum three, four tenths. If I was four tenths quicker, I would have done it easily.”
When asked by Autosport if the team will change its approach to Q1, Massa said: “I think so. We cannot lose any opportunity to score points.
“Points are the most important thing and qualifying is part of that. We need to try and do a perfect job every time.”
Asked for his views on the incident, Symonds said: “It would have been nice if we’d got a second run in but it would also have been nice if we didn’t need to do a second run. He did have a couple of cars in front of him, I think they did put him off a little bit. We didn’t plan to have to do a second run but I guess we paid quite heavily for it, which is a shame really.”
Symonds said Williams would analyze the strategy back at base before deciding on whether to change its approach.
“If you get that mindset of ‘let’s do two runs in Q1, let’s burn our tires’, you’re on the back foot. You should be able to do it, to get through in one hit. Normally you can. I guess it was a bit tighter here than we expected but two cars [as traffic] is not unusual. …
“We’ll go through it all with our normal analysis but I think we’ll wait till we’ve looked at it again. My first answer [to whether Williams needs to change anything] is no, it caught us this time. It’s so important to understand how to approach qualifying; Q1 is not a competition, it’s just a means to an end.”