Chinese Grand Prix Preview

Photo: Williams F1

For Williams the Bahrain Grand Prix was more of the same, with a few flashes of promise for the future. In some great news, Patrick Head returned to Williams as a consultant.

In the early aftermath of the Australian Grand Prix, Robert Kubica said the team discovered his and George Russell’s cars were behaving differently although they had the same set-ups. Russell confirmed it and the team is left trying to figure out the reason for this discrepancy.

Just ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix news broke out that Williams’ co-founder and long-time technical chief Patrick Head would be returning as a technical consultant. Although his role was said to be short-term, Williams and its fans welcomed the news of such a legendary figure helping the team recover from a difficult start of the season.

In some more positive news, Williams’ title partner ROKiT‘s boss Jonathan Kendrick pledged his long-term support to the struggling team, giving Williams some financial security for the future.

The Bahrain Grand Prix went as expected, Russell and Kubica were at the bottom of the timesheets in all sessions and finished the race in P15 and P16 respectively (the cars behind were a DNF). However there were some positives. Russell confirmed he was able to hold off Lance Stroll’s Racing Point in the race for some time and even Carlos Sainz in a surprisingly good McLaren for a few laps, implying that the team’s race pace is at least improving a bit. Robert Kubica added some encouraging words saying the 2019 car’s problems are not as hard to fix as last year’s were.

Following the Bahrain Grand Prix the teams had a two day test that allowed Williams to learn more about the FW42. Unfortunately on the first day the testing was cut short because of hard rain, but the team enjoyed a full second day of running with reserve driver Nicholas Latifi.

Now we approach the Chinese Grand Prix which will be the 1000th Formula 1 race in history. For the occasion Williams will carry the special ‘F1 1000’ logo on their cars. The team will look to further their understanding of the FW42 and hopefully unlock some more of its potential. Robert Kubica will return to the track where he finished fifth in 2010, while George Russell will get his first experience of the Shanghai International Circuit.

Follow our Chinese Grand Prix coverage here.

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Comments from the team

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: “The 16th running of the Chinese Grand Prix marks the 1000th Formula One World Championship race since the inception of the FIA World Championship in 1950. This landmark event takes place on the Shanghai International Circuit, which features a long signature back straight and the iconic low-speed complex of T1/2/3. The weather is often cool in Shanghai in April, and the risk of rain is frequently high. This threat of rain, combined with the layout of the circuit, can lead to a spread of set-up choices amongst the teams and drivers.

“Following the race and test in Bahrain, we will continue to test and evaluate during Friday practice sessions to further our understanding of the FW42. Pirelli have made available the C2, C3 & C4 compounds at this event, which is one step softer than those taken to Bahrain. We will complement our own testing with runs to assess the behaviour of these tyres around the unique 5.5km challenge of the Shanghai circuit.”

Robert Kubica: “We have a number of very different circuits at the beginning of the year with varying characteristics, which allows the teams to discover a great deal about their car. China can be very changeable and challenging. It has a lot of long tight corners, such as the first three turns, combined with low speed hairpins, high-speed corners, and very long straights ending with heavy braking. These conditions along with the changeable weather means it can be a challenge to set-up the car. We will have to wait and see what the weather does, but I am looking forward to driving in China once again. Finally, it will be a privilege to drive in the 1000th Grand Prix in Formula One; it is a big achievement for all the F1 world and for the fans. It will make me very happy and proud to have the opportunity to participate.”

George Russell: “I am really looking forward to China as it is a circuit I have never raced at before. It is always a great experience driving on a new track. It is the 1000th Grand Prix for Formula One so it is great to be one of the 20 drivers that are a part of that. There is so much history in the sport and this will be a historic race, so I am extremely proud to be lining up on the grid in Shanghai.”

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