Williams Racing are optimistic ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, which brings the three double-header races that open the 2020 Formula 1 season to a close.
The team have done well at the circuit in the past, where British driver George Russell put in one of his best qualifying performances in the 2019 season.
“The circuit characteristics will suit our car better” – Russell
Russell said he is looking forward to returning to the Hungaroring, and believes the circuit is more suited to their car setup, compared to Austria’s Red Bull Ring, which has played host to the first two races of the season.
“I am really looking forward to Hungary. I think the circuit characteristics will suit our car better than Austria did,” said Russell.
“We have got a bit of work to do off the back of the race in Austria, as our race pace wasn’t as strong as our qualifying pace, so we need to understand why.
“Nevertheless, Hungary is a great track, it is one of my favourites and it will be fun to drive around that circuit again,” he said.
“I have had some of my better races there” – Latifi
Russell’s team-mate, Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi, who is in his first season of F1, has enjoyed the triple-header, saying that although it puts a lot of pressure on the team, it is ideal for him as he still has a lot to learn.
“I am excited to get back going straight away. Personally, I am a fan of the back-to-back races, especially as I am in a period of learning and the more information that I can take on is just going to accelerate that,” he said.
He added: “Although triple headers can seem quite a lot, for me it’s ideal. Budapest is a track that has never been one of my favourites on the calendar, but I have had some of my better races there in the past, so I’m looking forward to hopefully continuing that trend.
“The track is tight and twisty with not a lot of room to rest, it is very demanding on both the driver, but also the car. It will be important to get the right balance. This circuit was quite strong for the team last year, so that bodes well.”
“The circuit here demands high levels of downforce” – Robson
Head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, says that Hungary provides a strong contrast to Austria, adding that the circuit layout means qualifying is even more important.
He said: “Following two weekends in the Austrian countryside, we have relocated 350km east to the historic city of Budapest. The circuit layout and characteristics of the Hungaroring are as different from the Red Bull Ring as the scenery is between Budapest and the Styrian Mountains.
“The circuit here demands high levels of downforce, excellent ride characteristics and a car balance that offers the driver precision in a range of corner types. Overtaking is difficult and there is consequently a greater emphasis on qualifying performance.”
Robson added that back-to-back races at the same venue are an advantage as they can help them quickly identify and rectify issues with the car.
“Back to back races in Austria has allowed us to learn quite quickly about the FW43 and to develop rapid solutions to some of the minor issues we uncovered a fortnight ago. Our job this weekend is to apply that knowledge to a new venue and to continue to push every aspect of the car’s performance.”