Williams happy with Strong Finish to Barcelona Shakedown

Williams Racing had an impressive first three days of on track action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, getting some good mileage and managing to get to grips with the new FW44 car.

The team managed a total of 347 laps over the three days of testing and on day 3, new driver Alex Albon managed ninety-four laps, which was the joint most laps completed along with Mercedes driver Sir Lewis Hamilton.

Albon’s fastest lap of the day was a 1:20.318 and was eighth fastest overall. Behind him was his teammate Nicholas Latifi, who only managed 13 laps during the day, however his fastest lap was 1:20.699, three tenths of a second behind his teammate.

Speaking after the conclusion of his first Formula 1 testing session since the beginning of 2020, Albon said; “We got some really good mileage in today and managed to maximise the limited testing time we have before the first race of the year.

Overall, the team have had a very successful few days in Barcelona; the car has been reliable and so we’ve done well to build a very good foundation to work from. It’s still early days and we can’t read too much into lap times, but I think we should be very pleased with how these sessions have gone and I’m looking forward to getting back out in the car in Bahrain.”

Latifi spoke positively as well, desciribing the three days as productive despite a few minor issues. Looking back at Barcelona and ahead to Bahrain testing the Canadian driver said “Today’s running was slightly more disrupted than the first two days with a number of red flags in the morning. However, none were caused by us and we still gained some good learning, especially as we got to experience the intermediate tyres in the afternoon which was valuable.

Overall, I think it has been a productive pre-season session in Barcelona. We have had a few minor issues here and there but that is par of the course with a new car as it’s a new learning for both the drivers and the team. It’s an exciting time and I’m looking forward to going to Bahrain now and building on everything we’ve learned from this week.”

Credit: Williams Racing

Head of vehicle performance Dave Robson was also happy with how the test went. He praised the teammwork of his colleagues and was glad to be working and getting to grips with a new car. This is what he had to say about their day.

“We had a strong finish to this first round of 2022 track running. Although we were held up this morning following some minor damage to a brake duct and some red flags, we managed a smooth afternoon, including our first experience of the 2022 Intermediate tyres, which we were able to share between Nicholas and Alex. As the track dried, we were able to complete the final round of data gathering before completing a sequence of long runs with Alex.

With the 2021 cars being largely carried over from 2020, it has been enjoyable to once again get to grips with a whole new car. Whilst it has been hard work, the team have worked well together and as a result we have collected a lot of data. This will be used to guide both the next round of car development and the run plans for the crucial test in Bahrain.

After three consecutive years of finishing last in the Constructors’ Championship, Williams managed a respectable eighth place in the 2021 standings. After a positive start to 2022, can Williams push forward and bring the team back to winning ways, having not stood on the top step of the podium for almost ten years. All eyes will be on the team from Grove in Bahrain to see if they can continue their upward trajectory.

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