Motorsport News Sport

It Was A Tough Race Out There Today

Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi said that the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday was tough after he crashed hard with four laps remaining of 58 lap race and speaking following the action he said:

It was a tough race out there today and we were struggling for pace throughout. Towards the end of the Grand Prix, I was racing with Mick Schumacher and was forced slightly wide, but fairly, at Turn Nine. My tyres got dirty from running off track and I subsequently made a small mistake and unfortunately crashed. This obviously wasn’t how I wanted to end our season, so it’s disappointing.

George Russell retired from his final race with Williams before moving to the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team replacing Valtteri Bottas next season and speaking following the race he said:

We had a gearbox issue which ultimately ended our race and may have been caused by something flying into the airbox. We need to review whether that was the case but there’s nothing we can do about that, so it’s unfortunate to finish our season in that way. The important thing though is that we sealed P8 in the Constructors’ Championship, which was much more than we could have hoped for this year and was our goal at the start of the weekend. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved as a team and I’m grateful to everyone at Grove for their hard work.

The Williams Racing Team ended the year in eighth place in the championship and speaking following the race, head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson commented saying:

A very frustrating way to end the season with both cars failing to finish the race. George was unfortunate to collect some litter or a visor tear-off in the cooling duct, which we wouldn’t have been able to remove at a pitstop. We managed the high temperatures for a long time on track but in the end, we couldn’t prevent the gearbox from overheating and forcing us to retire the car.

Nicholas was embroiled in a tight battle with Schumacher but despite several attempts to overtake and some robust defending from Schumacher, he couldn’t make the pass stick and eventually made a mistake in the dirty air and hit the wall.

It wasn’t the way that we wanted to secure our Championship position; however, we can still be proud of the work we did earlier in the year which got us into a strong position. Our attention now turns to the test next week followed by a well-earned rest over Christmas before we regroup to tackle the new season. Congratulations to Red Bull, Mercedes, Max and Lewis who have fought hard throughout the year and given us one of the most thrilling Championships for some time.

Motorsport News Sport

Williams Racing For Sir Frank This Weekend

The Williams Racing Team will compete in this weekend’s inaugural Saudi Arabia Grand Prix with Sir Frank Williams in their thoughts following the Formula One legends death earlier this week.

Speaking ahead of the race this weekend, Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson said:

The sad events of last weekend mean that this is our first race weekend without Sir Frank Williams as the patriarch and figurehead of the Williams organisation. Although he had only very rarely been at the track in recent years, he still had a strong presence in the garage; his passion, strength and unstinting enthusiasm providing additional motivation to those of us fortunate enough to race the cars bearing his name. Although an era ended last weekend, Frank’s legacy will live on and we will continue to race in the manner that he would expect, drawing upon his memory as a source of pride and inspiration. We send the Williams family our deepest sympathies and reassure them that we will continue to honour his legend.

For the penultimate round of the 2021 F1 Championship we go to another new venue. The brand-new Jeddah Corniche Circuit sits by the Red Sea in the modern port city of Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The circuit is a big contrast to the Losail Circuit in Qatar and features a very long lap with a multitude of fast sweeping corners, all set within a street circuit. We will need to see how much grip the newly laid surface offers, but the natural layout of the corners means that it is very much a high-speed circuit, which should flow nicely and encourage some fascinating racing. The drivers will enjoy it and they will get a lot of satisfaction from a single flat-out qualifying lap.

The late sessions under floodlights will be a big feature of the event, both visibly and in terms of the car and tyre behaviour. We can expect quite a variety of approaches to setup and tyre use, and it is likely that most drivers will still be refining their car setups as we head into the night-time qualifying session on Saturday. With each lap in excess of 6km, the drivers won’t get too many attempts at each corner sequence prior to qualifying and this will add to the pressure and should help deliver an exciting session in which the most adaptable and instinctive drivers should excel.

In recognition of the street circuit setting, Pirelli have provided tyres from the middle of their compound range, which should ensure a good level of grip and the possibility of mixed strategies on Sunday.

With two races of the long 2021 season remaining, we are focussed on delivering everything that the FW43B is capable of and signing-off the season with some positive momentum to take into 2022. We aren’t going to see any inclement weather in Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi and so we will need to concentrate on maximising the tyre performance and giving the drivers the best possible opportunities to push the car to its absolute limits: we will need to rely on basic race engineering skills.

George Russell who is competing in his penultimate Grand Prix for Williams before joining Mercedes next season said:

It’s with a great sadness that we head to Saudi Arabia this weekend following the passing of Sir Frank, but as a team we are determined to pay our respects and honour him in the way we know he would want us to; by racing. In terms of British sport, Sir Frank was an incredibly important figure. Not just because of the adversity he faced, but because of the success that the team went on to achieve following his accident. He was somebody that so many people looked up to. He would be wheeled around the whole factory and there was this presence in the room whenever he was around. It motivated the team to really get on with their jobs and be so dedicated, because of the man he was.

On track, I am looking forward to getting my first look at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. It is sure to be an exhilarating track to drive with its high-speed nature and, when you couple that with the fact it’s a street circuit and the walls will be close, I’m sure it will be a thrilling spectacle both inside and outside the car. As we head into this final double-header of the season, our full focus as a team remains on consolidating our position in the Constructors’ Championship and we will be giving it absolutely everything to do so.

Nicholas Latifi commented saying:

There is no doubt that the whole the whole team will be racing for Sir Frank this weekend. His contribution to Formula One cannot be underestimated, and to represent his name on the world stage has been an honour. We’ll continue to push hard to take the team back up the grid.

I’m looking forward to experiencing the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and discovering another brand-new track. Street circuits are always exciting; the extra adrenaline that you get from driving between the tight city walls makes it really enjoyable, despite also being an extra challenge. From what I’ve experienced in the simulator, the high-speed nature of the circuit is going to make things quite intense. There are a lot of corners, most of them very quick, so it will be an exciting track to drive. This will also be my first street race held at night, which adds another interesting element that I’m looking forward to tackling.