Reigning FIA Formula E World Champion and recent Berlin E Prix winner Nyck de Vries will take part in Friday’s first Free Practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, the Williams Racing team has announced.
Widely recognised as one of the outstanding young talents in open wheel motorsport, the Dutchman not only competes in Formula E but is also a test and reserve driver for the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team, who supply the power unit for Williams.
“Firstly, I’d really like to thank Williams for the opportunity to run in FP1,” commented De Vries on the official Williams Press Release. “It’s great for me to get to know the team and drive the FW44, and also to get myself out on track during a Formula One weekend. Preparation for the test is going well so far and the team have been incredibly supportive of me. I’m very much looking forward to the whole experience in Spain now!”
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) May 16, 2022
With Alexander Albon adding further to the team’s points tally with a second top ten finish of the season at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Thai driver will be full of confidence on a more familiar circuit.
“It will good to head back to Barcelona; I’m interested to see how much the car has improved since we were last there for pre-season testing,” commented Albon. “It’s a good track, and one that every driver has done countless laps around, more so than any other circuit. That familiarity will work in my favour this weekend and help me get up to speed more quickly after sitting out FP1 whilst Nyck is in the car. We’re hungry for more points after Miami, so that’s what we’ll continue to push for.”
Whereas the Miami International Autodrome represented a step into the unknown for all teams and drivers, the familiar setting for pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one that the team will be hoping to take advantage of.
“The drivers and engineers know the quirks and subtleties of this track very well and, whilst the car balance and tyre behaviour will be different to February, we have a good idea of what to expect and the areas that we will need to work on,” added Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance. “The car has changed quite a lot since February and the much hotter track conditions will present very different problems.
Back to Barcelona 😎
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) May 15, 2022
“We are looking forward to having Nyck de Vries in the car for FP1 as it is always good to work with a new driver and get a fresh opinion on the car’s strengths and weaknesses. Nyck’s experience and professionalism will be crucial on Friday as he will complete some of the key engineering tests in FP1 before he hands the car back to Alex for FP2.”
And come the first session of free practice on Friday, the Dutchman certainly did not disappoint, finishing .091s faster than regular first team driver Nicholas Latifi.
“I will admit I was very nervous ahead of FP1! I’m racing and fighting for championships away from F1, but making your Formula One debut is very unique and special, so I am very grateful for the opportunity,” said De Vries afterward.
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) May 20, 2022
“But when you get into the car and start the engine you forget everything around you and you’re alone with the car; all those nerves go away and you focus on your job. It wasn’t easy to jump in not knowing the car or the tyres and everything was new, but I gave myself the time to adapt and I’m pretty satisfied with my performance. I’m always critical of myself so I think there was more on the table, but I’m happy and positive about my first experience with Williams.”
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It's critical that we have access to data wherever we are in the world 🌍
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) April 6, 2022
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