The 2022 Formula 1 season is officially technically underway, as the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya took place under beautiful sunshine. For Williams Racing it was a very productive day, Nicholas Latifi and new to the team Alex Albon completed a modest 66 laps in the new FW44.
Albon was second to go out on the opening day of testing, and ran the FW44 during the afternoon, it was the Thai driver’s first real experience behind the wheel of the FW44. Having spent a year out of Formula 1 competitively, Albon is very pleased at how his first day as a Williams driver went.
“I’m really happy with my first proper session in the FW44 this afternoon. The car felt great and the team here in Barcelona did an incredible job. We got some good mileage in which is really important and a great start to the year. The first days on track are usually spent making sure everything is running smoothly and, because it is, we managed to make a start working on the performance of the car. We only have six days testing before the first race, so to be honing in on performance already is a real positive. I’m looking forward to getting back out tomorrow morning!”
“You can tell it’s a different design philosophy” – Nicholas Latifi
It was Canadian Nicholas Latifi who got things underway for Williams, after being the first of the Williams drivers to run the FW44 under the Spanish sun. Latifi who is entering his third season in the sport and at Williams, found plenty of positives on the opening day, in what was a successful day’s work for the Canadian.
“The first session back in the car after a few months off is always interesting. You can tell it’s a different design philosophy, especially with the tyres, as it was my first time driving the new 18-inch Pirellis. Overall, it feels different and there are a few things that, for me, feel quite positive already compared to last year and there are things that need adjusting. But it is still very early days. This morning’s focus was about understanding the systems and the aero platform sensitivities. It was a good day overall.”
“Alex was immediately comfortable” – Williams’ Dave Robson
Williams Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, was very happy with how smooth everything ran for the team on the opening day, Robson was equally impressed at just how quickly Albon found his groove in the FW44.
“It’s been a solid day in Barcelona starting to understand the FW44. We had very few problems given how many new concepts there are on the car and both drivers had a good opportunity to complete long runs on several of the Pirelli tyre compounds. It is very early days, but we have made a good start and have identified several opportunities to improve the performance of the car.
“Alex was immediately comfortable in the car and was on the pace straight away. He will drive the car again in the morning before Nicholas returns in the afternoon. We are looking forward to another productive day as we continue our preparation for the season ahead.”