Upbeat Williams hunting first season points in Baku

The Williams Racing F1 team, partnered by Acronis, heads to Baku in Azerbaijan in search of its first points after an encouraging start to the 2021 season.

With George Russell having progressed to Q2 in every round of the season so far, it is clear that the team has already made significant progress since the Dorilton Capital investment. Whilst the qualifying pace has improved, the race pace has not yielded points as yet. But it’s clearly a matter of when, not if, that will happen.

“I’m looking forward to Baku,” said Russell in his team’s race weekend preview. “It’s another street circuit, but it has a different dynamic to Monaco. There’s a lot of big braking zones from high-speed and with walls just behind the track it’s difficult to attack the corners.

“You also go through the castle section which has the trickiest corner on the Formula One calendar, it’s so tight and you can win or lose so much time there. I have mixed feelings from Baku; it’s always been one of my best circuits, but I’ve never had a huge amount of luck there. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to it and let’s see how we get on.”

For teammate Nicholas Latifi, the novelty of driving a Formula One car around the famous confines of Monaco is something he is still buzzing from. And the Canadian is eager for more of another street circuit where he has achieved success in the past.

“I am very excited to get back racing, especially with it being the second street track in a row which is always a lot of fun,” said Latifi. “I got to experience my first street race in Formula One in Monaco which was very enjoyable so I’m looking forward to driving between some more walls in Baku.

“It is a track I like having achieved quite a lot of podiums there in FIA Formula 2. I can’t wait to tackle the challenge of getting around in a Formula One car which I am sure will be tricky. There are some very long straights so hopefully can have a bit more excitement than we did last time out in Monaco. All in all, I can’t wait to hit the track.”

The Baku Circuit is pretty unique in that for a city street track, it requires the car to be set up with low downforce, the long main straight meaning that those running more downforce for the tighter sections will be vulnerable to be overtaken.

“This circuit presents some unique challenges for both the car and the drivers and although it is a street circuit, it also has some long straights and some opportunities to overtake,” explains Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance. “The tight section past the old castle is the signature corner sequence on the circuit, however, every part of the track offers something different, all set against the backdrop of the city and coastline of Baku.

“The camber of the roads, large gradient changes, and the varying track width all add to the challenge and ensure that setting the car up to be strong over the full 6km lap is very tricky.”

Motorsport Technology