Monaco Grand Prix Preview

Photo: Williams F1

The start of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend was promising with news of updates, solved FW42 problems and improved qualifying pace, but this ultimately didn’t translate into improved race results.

First positive news came from deputy team chief Claire Williams who said the team managed to fix the damage done to George Russell’s car in Baku, while also noting that his and Robert Kubica’s chassis have been swapped. The Pole was said to be driving the replacement chassis that Russell used during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, while the Briton was using the chassis Kubica used for the first four races of the 2019 season. After multiple complaints that his car was responding differently than Russell’s, Claire Williams gave her assurance that the chassis were now similar. She also added the team believes they solved an issue with the brake system that was plaguing the car since the beginning of the season.

Another positive came when Williams confirmed the team will not be looking for outside talent to fill the gap left by their departed Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe, but will instead focus on personnel they already have within the team. This appears to have brought an end to the question: ‘Who will replace Paddy Lowe?’

Things were looking promising for George Russell after the Spanish Grand Prix qualifying. Although Williams was still at the back of the grid, the gap to other cars seemed to be somewhat reduced. This was confirmed by Russell himself who said the reduced gap, despite other teams bringing upgrades, seemed promising. Robert Kubica was not as optimistic and said the improved handling he felt in FP1 was gone by the time he lined up the grid on Sunday. Unfortunately no improvement was visible in the race, as the team again couldn’t compete with other cars and finished at the back.

Following the race reserve driver Nicholas Latifi jumped into the FW42 to participate in the second in-season test that gave the team a chance to evaluate some updates they’ve brought. The team was tight-lipped about the details, but confirmed the test went according to plan.

Now we head to one of the biggest events in motorsport history, the Monaco Grand Prix. A win on the streets of Monte Carlo often eluded Williams during the team’s most successful period in the 1990s, but they did come out on top on three occasions – in 1980, 1983 and 2003.

There’s not much to say about the track itself, since it is possibly the most well-known circuit in the world. It is a street circuit, it is unforgiving and it is a dream of every driver to climb the top step on the podium there.

Both Robert Kubica and George Russell have experience with the track. The Pole finished second there in 2008 and third in 2010, while the Briton drove there last year for the first time. Unfortunately he retired from both Formula 2 races, so he will be hoping to have more success this time. All we can do now is hope the team will continue to improve the FW42 and possibly reduce the gap to the rest of the field.

Follow our Monaco Grand Prix coverage here.

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Comments from the team

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: “Monaco is always one of the highlights of the Formula One calendar. Although a challenging event for the drivers and engineers alike, the surroundings and atmosphere make it a uniquely enjoyable race.

“Following the race and test in Barcelona, we believe that we have improved the performance of the FW42 and increased our understanding of the car and the tyres. Whether this will show or not in Monaco is unclear due to the unique nature of the Monte Carlo circuit and unpredictable local climate. However, we look forward to the challenge of Monaco knowing that we will need to make some changes to the car to suit this circuit and knowing how important it is to develop the drivers’ confidence over the course of the weekend. We also know that Monaco can spring a few surprises and we will be ready to use our excellent reliability and pit stop performance to exploit any opportunities that arise.”

Robert Kubica: “Monaco is a challenging circuit. I remember the streets to be narrow, and now the cars are wider and much bigger, it will be tough. It is a special race, one very different to the others on the Formula One calendar. Already this year, we have had a street circuit race in Baku with close walls and barriers, but Monaco has different characteristics and I look forward to driving there.”

George Russell: “Monaco is a very iconic circuit and place on the Formula One calendar. It will be a privilege to drive around the streets once again. Last year in Formula 2 was my worst weekend of the year, so I hope to make a better job of it this year.”

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