Dave Robson, the Senior Race Engineer at Williams Racing, says this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix will require a downforce level that lies somewhere between that seen in Monaco and Hungary, with the team at the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship aiming for only their second top ten finish of the season on Sunday.
Hungary was perhaps their strongest weekend so far in 2019, with George Russell almost making it through to Q2 before finishing ahead of a handful of other drivers on race day, although the German Grand Prix the week before gave the team their only point of the year so far, courtesy of Robert Kubica’s tenth place finish.
Williams head to Singapore after two tracks with completely opposite set-ups to what will be needed this weekend, with Robson admitting downforce will be very valuable if they want to be a genuine points contender.
“In complete contrast to the previous two races, Singapore is a low speed, twisty and bumpy street circuit,” said Robson. “Downforce is very valuable, and it can be said that Marina Bay lies roughly between Monaco and Hungary in terms of general set-up.”
It will be Kubica’s first race in Singapore since 2010 but for Russell it is his first appearance at Marina Bay, but Robson says it will not take the 2018 FIA Formula 2 champion long to get accustomed to the 5.063-kilometre layout.
“Robert has raced here before in F1 and so has a good understanding of the challenges and compromises demanded by this unique venue,” said Robson. “For George it will be his first-time racing in Singapore, but it won’t take him long to appreciate what a great but testing circuit this is.”
Robson says it will be important for both Kubica and Russell to manage their tyres during the race as they will not want to be forced into an unscheduled second pit stop, particularly if there is a sniff of a points finish on the cards.
“We return to the very softest of the Pirelli tyre compounds for this weekend, a combination not seen since Canada in June,” he added. “They should be well suited to Singapore but will require some careful management during the race, especially for the drivers that want to avoid making a second pitstop.”