For the Williams Racing team, partnered by Acronis, the opening three races of the 2021 Formula One season has been one of a marked improvement.
In all of the three races so far, star driver George Russell has made it out of Q1, a feat rarely achieved in the entire of 2020.
But for an unfortunate collision with the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in the Emilia Romagna GP, Russell may well have scored his first points and backed up that performance by qualifying 11th in the Portuguese Grand Prix.
A measure of how far the team has come, it was therefore something of a disappointment that the race pace of the Williams wasn’t there on Sunday and it’s something that the team are looking to rectify as the F1 circus travels to the Circuit de Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix.
“I have very mixed feelings from our weekend in Portugal,” said Russell for his team’s race preview. “There were lots of positives to takeaway, but equally lots of lessons to learn from the performance on Sunday. We know the strengths and weaknesses of the car so hopefully we can work on that over the course of this week.
“I’m looking forward to returning to Barcelona; the first two sectors are fast and flowing, which makes them great to drive. When you arrive at the final sector it’s quite slow and it does not offer any overtaking opportunities which can definitely hurt, but it will also be interesting to see how the change to Turn 10 impacts the driving and the racing.”
Plenty of useful learnings to take from Portugal as we turn our attention to Barcelona! 📚
How do you think @GeorgeRussell63 will get on in Spain? 🙌
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) May 4, 2021
The Spanish Grand Prix weekend also marks the first time this season that test and reserve driver Roy Nissany will join regular drivers Russell and Nicholas Latifi, the Israeli taking the wheel for FP1.
“The Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya offers a good mixture of corner speeds and some exciting elevation changes that combine to make it a useful test of a car’s all-round performance,” adds Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance. “The reprofiled T10 will provide a new challenge this year to an otherwise familiar circuit.
“Roy Nissany will drive George’s car during FP1 this weekend and will complete some of our test work during that session. Roy has done a very good job each time he has driven the car and we are looking forward to getting his input this weekend. George will then take over driving duties for FP2.”
Test Driver @RoyNissany will complete his first FP1 session of the year in Spain! 💪
Who's ready to see us back in action at @Circuitcat_eng? 🤩
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) May 3, 2021