The Williams Racing team, partnered by Acronis, will be hoping to grab a first points haul as the Formula One calendar moves to historic Imola for the second race of the season.
George Russell enjoyed a competitive outing in the season opener in Bahrain, making it through to Q2 before finishing just outside the points on race day.
“Imola is a fantastic circuit; it’s very fast and you really need to be committed. It also has a lot of character that the newer tracks sometimes lack, and you feel that when you’re bouncing over the kerbs,” said Russell during the build-up to San Marino. “I’m very happy that the track is back on the calendar this season.
“I made what is probably the biggest mistake of my career at Imola in 2020 when crashing under the safety car. It’s a track where, if you make a mistake, you’re out. But that’s what racing should be about! I’ll look to try and rectify my mistake from last year with a good result this weekend.”
An unfortunate DNF finish for Nicholas Latifi means the Canadian will be even more determined to make it to the chequered flag at the beautiful, yet challenging parkland setting within the Emilia Romagna region.
“I’m excited to hit the track at Imola; it was a circuit that seemed to suit our car quite well last year and I had one of my best results of the season in the race,” said Latifi. “I’m curious to see how the car is going to perform there, especially after a weekend of inconsistent conditions in Bahrain with the wind. Having all three practice sessions will be useful, as last year we only had the one, so we’ll be able to build the weekend from there and hopefully we can be competitive and have a good race.”
For Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix marks yet another opportunity for the team to make strides forward, having made some changes to the car in order to close the gap to the competition.
“We were pleased with our performance when we visited Imola in late October and we felt that we adapted to the challenge of a two-day event well,” added Robson in his team’s race preview. “This year we have the opportunity to revisit this great circuit and to spend a full weekend exploring the car set-up.
“There will be a few changes to the car this weekend mainly aimed at resolving the issue that caused us to retire Nicholas’s car in Bahrain. We also have some additional test items to try as we look to improve the characteristics of the car and to adapt it to the different challenge of Imola.
“Both George and Nicholas drove well here last year and found good set-ups to deal with the kerbs and anti-clockwise nature of the track. As a team we are all looking forward to building on the lessons learnt six months ago and putting up another strong performance at this historic venue.
As for the championship standings, it’s Lewis Hamilton who leads the way after what was yet another mightily impressive drive from the defending champion in Bahrain, holding off everything Max Verstappen had to throw at him. It certainly bodes well for another exciting race!