ROKiT Williams Racing took the opportunity to develop new concepts for their FW42 during both practice sessions on Friday for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Suzuka International Racing Course was George Russell‘s first experience in his racing career, as the rookie completed a combined total of fifty-nine laps throughout the day.
He shared about the front wings that were used for both him and Robert Kubica, following both cars not finishing last time out in Russia.
“It was great experiencing Suzuka for the first time,” Russell said. “It’s an incredible circuit, one of the best I’ve ever driven.
“I was pretty pleased with my laps, although the pace was probably not as strong as I was expecting. We did a lot of aero running; in FP1, we back-to-backed the front-wings across both cars to gather more info, as we had different sensors on each.
“We’re still yet to have the full analysis as there is a lot of data to gather, but the guys have got all day tomorrow to look at it to see what is what! We did everything that we wanted to today so that was spot on.”
Robert Kubica acknowledged how busy it was during practice, considering qualifying being postponed until Sunday morning due to the typhoon.
The Polish driver has no idea what the weather could be for race day but felt that Williams had done all they needed to have done before the Suzuka circuit closed on Saturday.
“Today was a busy day as qualifying is postponed until Sunday because of the weather risk,” Kubica added. “We had to fit in more runs and use more tyres, like everyone else, so it was busier and more varied than usual.
“We do not know what the weather will do on Sunday, so we adapted our Friday programme, adding short runs with low fuel to get a good lap time in case qualifying is cancelled. Sunday will be a compact day with lots of action, and let’s hope that the weather clears up.”
Senior Race Engineer Dave Robson presented his analysis on what his team had gathered during Friday, understanding the possibility of the Free Practice 2 classification determining the grid, should qualifying be cancelled before the race.
“The anticipated arrival of the Typhoon Hagibis, and consequent pre-emptive cancelling of Saturday’s running, meant that today was busier than normal,” Robson quoted. “Teams were able to use tyres normally destined for FP3 today.
“Furthermore, with the FIA having clarified that the FP2 standings will be used to establish the grid in the event of qualifying being cancelled on Sunday morning, the teams made a more concerted effort to go quicker than they normally would on a Friday.
“We spent time today evaluating a new front wing concept, which we did on both cars. We collected some useful data in a range of conditions and are starting to get a good sense of how the car’s behaviour has changed.
“Robert ran the new wing throughout FP2 and felt an improvement over the baseline. We will review all the data tonight before deciding how and when to continue the experiments.
“Both drivers enjoyed productive FP2 sessions as they began preparing their cars for the running on Sunday. We have some clear set-up directions to work on overnight, but exactly how the cars will perform on Sunday will likely depend on the condition of the circuit and the resulting tyre behaviour.
“Whilst we will continue our normal preparations for qualifying and the race, we also wish everyone in the path of the typhoon a safe and secure night, and we hope that the intensity reduces sufficiently to ensure a safe passing.”