Williams Racing had a difficult weekend last time out in Baku, with one driver suffering a late retirement and the other being penalised with a thirty-second penalty.
George Russell was forced to retire from the race at the restart of Azerbaijan Grand Prix, while Nicholas Latifi failed to enter the pits with safety car after miscommunication with his engineer, demoting him to back of the grid in final standings.
However, the British-based team now have a triple-header to build momentmum and potentially score their first points of the season, starting with the French Grand Prix.
Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, is expecting the Paul Ricard circuit to offer a completely different experience compared to Monaco and Baku, with variety of challenging corners and likelihood of high winds.
“Following back-to-back street races, we head to the impressive Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France for round seven of the 2021 Championship. The layout and character of the circuit couldn’t be more different to Monaco and Baku, with considerably more run-off area should a driver push just beyond the limit.”
“The circuit sits 400m above sea level and is close to the coast, making it exposed to high winds. The long straights are punctuated by several complexes of technical corners. The low-speed section that leads on to the Mistral straight is tight and requires agility from the setup but is not too hard on the tyres.
“In contrast, the faster, technical section from Signes to the end of the lap is demanding on the tyres and drivers and requires some management in order to complete the best possible single lap in qualifying.”
The team also announced this week that test driver Roy Nissany will participate in free practice one on Friday, with Russell sitting out of his FW43B.
Robson confirmed that Nissany is set to take an active role in their engineering programme, analysing parts that were introduced at Azerbaijan, whereas Russell will focus on race programmes when he returns for second practice.
“This weekend we welcome back Roy Nissany who will drive George’s car in FP1. As usual, Roy will take an active role in our engineering programme, further evaluating some of the components that we introduced in Azerbaijan.
“His experience of driving at this circuit and his feeling for the car will help us understand the details of the new parts. Nicholas will follow a similar programme in FP1, mixing his race preparation with some component testing. George will be back in the car for FP2 and will concentrate on his race preparation.”
The French Grand Prix is the start of the first triple-header of the season, with teams set to travel to Austria for two races, and Robson says the team are looking forward to a demanding three weeks.
“This is the first of three back-to-back races and whilst the schedule is demanding for the team, everyone is looking forward to getting the most out of FW43B at two different and iconic circuits, firstly here in France and then in Austria for the second and third parts of the triple-header.”