Williams Racing’s Senior Race Engineer, Dave Robson, hopes Formula 1’s new aerodynamic regulations not only ensure closing racing but also reduces the gap between the front and the rear of the grid.
Williams endured a difficult 2018 campaign that saw them score only seven points as they brought up the rear of the championship, and they were also suffered a tough pre-season testing programme that started late and ensured new drivers Robert Kubica and George Russell were always playing catch up.
Robson says the team has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that there are enough parts available to the drivers this weekend having suffered with a relative shortage of components during testing.
“Melbourne is a fantastic location for the first race of the new season and it will be great to get into a warmer climate following winter testing in Europe,” said Robson. “It is an exciting season ahead with the effect of the new rules in aerodynamics, which we hope will deliver not only closer racing but also a closer grid.
“For us, it has taken a huge amount of work by everyone on Grove to prepare enough parts, to get all our procedures in place, and ensure that the drivers are in the best possible position to start the competition.”
Robson says the Australian Grand Prix will likely show the true pecking order of the Formula 1 grid for the first time, and the track itself will put a lot of demands on the cars and the drivers. He also believes the unusual nature of the track can often throw up results that won’t reflect results elsewhere on the calendar.
“The first race is always one of the most interesting as we see the real order of performance for the first time,” said Robson. “In terms of the circuit itself, it is quite an unusual track where it can be quite bumpy, and tough on the brakes.
“It places a lot of demands on the car’s handling as well as the drivers’ stamina but also requires a lot of the aerodynamics, with the exciting high-speed chicane at T11/12 being especially demanding.
“It is a good test of both the drivers and the cars, but it can throw up some unusual results.”