Rubens Barrichello says his Williams team's strong results at Valencia and Silverstone can be traced to improvements in the way the team uses its wind tunnel.
The Brazilian finished fourth in the European Grand Prix and then followed that up with a competitive fifth in the British GP two weeks ago. He believes that improved communication between the drivers and the team's wind tunnel staff has meant a recalibration in the kinds of improvements the facility is being tasked to develop.
"The tunnel was giving us 'A', and we were getting 'A', but that was not necessarily the best thing. Rather it was what I needed [to feel] from the car that we needed to develop from the tunnel," he explained. "The tunnel can find downforce in a straight line, but nowadays it is important to find it in the corners also. So a better translation of [the information] we had is how we got better.
"It's a normal process – you cannot just come in to a team, bang on the table and say, 'That is the way it is done,'" he added. "Tunnels work differently – it's not like 'You won at Ferrari, you won at Brawn, and it's because of this.' It's because the whole thing gets shaped until you get it to a place where you are happy. The team is starting to work on a good level."
Barrichello had previously alluded to this process two weeks ago at Silverstone, where he said: "It doesn't matter if the wind tunnel is saying it's better – if it's not better on the track then we need to change that. And that was a good way, because right now the tunnel is reading a bit more toward what the drivers are saying and we are working on that, so that's why we have seen some improvements since Istanbul."
The 38-year-old also said that it was too early to assess whether the FW32 would be consistently competitive from now on, but reckoned that Silverstone, Hockenheim and the Hungaroring would provide the acid test.
"It is true that if a car goes well at Silverstone, it can go well at some other tracks – but this year the bumps changed the whole attitude of the car. At the end of the day, it is important that you don't go 'Wow!' because it goes well on one track. It needs to go well on different tracks and in between Silverstone, Budapest and Hockenheim we have very different tracks. So this will be a good test for the car.
"We are still keeping our feet on the ground and keeping for Q3 here and some good points in the race," he added. "Obviously we want to visit the podium this year.
"It's going quite well. Silverstone was not as good a position as Valencia, but I think it was as good a race. If it wasn't for those safety cars in Valencia we would have finished seventh or eighth, and in Silverstone we finished fifth, but that would have been sixth if Alonso didn't get a penalty. I think it is improving. We still don't have the car that we wish to have, but I like it."