Williams technical director Sam Michael is targeting a points finish for his cars in his swansong race for the team. The 40-year-old, who joined Williams for the 2001 season and was promoted to his current position in May 2004, will leave the team following the Singapore Grand Prix after tendering his resignation earlier this year.
Having spent close to 200 grands prix with the legendary team before moving to McLaren as sporting director for next season, Sunday will be Michael's final day of work at Williams. Williams appears to be well-placed to fight for minor points placings, with Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado lining up 12th and 13th on the grid. The team's chances are boosted by the low tire degradation in Singapore, which means that it will not be held back by the wear problems that it has had in some races this year.
"It would be nice to score a few points," said Michael. "It is a strange experience to be in my last race after 11 years.
"This track is peculiar because you don't have any high-speed corners where you suffer degradation. The wear rate here is very low, but there is still a big difference between the prime and option. Even though you have low wear, it will be surprising if this is a one-stop strategy for anyone."
Michael has been shadowed by new Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan this weekend. Gillan worked for McLaren, Jaguar, Red Bull Racing and Toyota in Formula 1 before joining Williams, and used this weekend to ensure a seamless transition between himself and Michael ahead of his first full race weekend with the team in Japan next month.
"Mark has come along to shadow me and he's integrated himself straight away," said Michael. "There are little bits and pieces that he will want to change on the pit wall, but we have left that all the same this weekend so that Mark just observes.
"He has seen what I do. He has been at plenty of races in the past himself so he will have all of his own ideas about how to structure things. He will take over by himself at Suzuka and deal with everything himself then. So this has been a changeover weekend."