Dave Robson says Spa-Francorchamps is a ‘demanding mix of high-speed corners and long straights’ as his Williams Racing squad attempt to break into the midfield fight during this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Williams has endured a tough campaign with only one point scored so far, thanks to Robert Kubica during the German Grand Prix, but the Hungarian Grand Prix just prior to the enforced summer break saw a much-improved performance from their FW42, at least on George Russell’s side of the garage.
Robson, the Senior Race Engineer at Williams, says lower downforce is likely to be the way to go this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, much different to what was needed at the Hungaroring at the beginning of the month, which will be a test for the team as they attempt to add to their points tally.
“The second half of the 2019 campaign starts at one of the most iconic of Formula One venues, Spa-Francorchamps,” said Robson. “The circuit is a long and demanding mix of high-speed corners and long straights, and this is likely to encourage teams to a lower downforce and drag set-up than that deployed in Hungary.
“The weather can often be quite mixed in Spa, although the current forecast looks unusually stable, and this will only increase the incentive to lower the downforce level.”
For the third time in 2019, Williams will give test and reserve driver Nicholas Latifi an outing in first practice, with the Canadian taking the place of Russell this time around, and Robson is keen to see what the FIA Formula 2 frontrunner makes of the improvements made to the FW42 since his last outing in France.
“Nicholas joins us on Friday for his third FP1 session of the season and it will be interesting to get his impression of how the car has changed since his last outing in France,” said Robson.
“Having seen some improvements in our performance in Budapest, the Friday programme will involve understanding how best to adapt the car to suit Spa and understanding how to get the most from the Pirelli tyres in qualifying.”