Roy Nissany will drive for the Williams Racing team in the first practice session at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza this weekend, his second free practice outing of 2020.
The Israeli driver will again take the seat of George Russell for the session, with Nissany hoping to build on the experience he gained when he ran in first practice for the Spanish Grand Prix last month before he returns to racing in the FIA Formula 2 championship with Trident.
“After the great session in Barcelona I am really looking forward to driving at Monza,” said Nissany. “This legendary track is one of my favourites, as it is where I had my first single seater win.
“I’m sure it will be emotional, but as always, I will switch on my robot mode to ensure I will be fully focused on completing my job for the team. This FP1 session, I will have more experience, greater confidence and I feel even better than before, ahead of jumping in the car.
“Of course, we will do more preparations in the simulator at the factory this week following Spa. I am keen to get in the car and release that clutch lever.”
Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance, has welcomed the news that Nissany is back behind the wheel of the FW43 for the practice session at Monza, and he expects the Israeli driver to play a vital role in setting up the car for the rest of the weekend.
“We welcome back Roy Nissany, who will drive George’s car during FP1 this weekend,” said Robson. “Roy did an excellent job in Barcelona and again he will play a vital role in our Friday engineering plan, before George takes over in FP2.
“We will be concentrating on rear wing performance as well as looking at some development items.”
Robson says the team had a difficult time of it at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, with Russell crashing out and Nicholas Latifi ending sixteenth, ahead only of Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen.
He is expecting another tough outing with the drag issues of the FW43 likely to cause them to lose valuable time on the straights at Monza.
“We had a difficult race in Spa and felt unable to demonstrate our true race pace on Sunday,” said Robson. “Fortunately, a lot of what we learnt in Spa carries forward to Monza.
“There will be a strong emphasis on reducing drag and maximising end-of-straight speed, but at the same time, the signature corners in Monza cannot be treated lightly and require good levels of downforce and balance.”
Despite the FIA clamping down on engine regulations ahead of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, Robson still has faith that their engine suppliers at Mercedes-Benz will continue to maximise the potential of the power unit at Monza.
“A recent clarification to the F1 regulations means that engine modes will be a little different this weekend, with engine power having to remain consistent throughout qualifying and the race,” he said.
“Whilst this may have an impact on our relative pace in qualifying and the race, we expect the effect to be small and we are totally confident that our partners at Mercedes will continue to maximise the potential of their exceptional power unit.”
“It is always good fun racing at Monza” – George Russell
Against all odds, Russell made it through to Q2 at Spa-Francorchamps, his fifth appearance in the second part of Qualifying in 2020, and he hopes for a sixth this weekend at Monza.
Russell, who will resume his driving duties on Friday afternoon, says the aim remains the same this weekend as last, to fight and beat their closest rivals at Haas and Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN.
“It is always good fun racing at Monza,” said Russell. “It is an historic circuit, very fast, high speed with minimum downforce.
“I think performance wise it will be a very similar weekend as we just had in Spa as the circuit characteristics are very similar. We will have the same objectives and goals to last weekend, trying to fight the Alfas and the Haas’.
Team-mate Latifi admits the circuit may not suit their FW43 but there is optimism that the team are making good progress in 2020, and he hopes this translates into a positive weekend in Italy.
“Monza is always a track that brings great racing, so I am really excited to get going once again,” said Latifi. “On paper, the circuit may not suit our car but at the same time coming off the back of Spa where we were expecting something similar, we did perform better than expected.
“That bodes well heading into Monza and gives us all a sense of optimism in what the team has been doing and the direction that we have been going in to bring performance. I can’t wait to hit the track and get going into another race.”