Williams’ Dave Robson: ‘So thrilled to be back’ racing in Australia
Dave Robson, Vehicle Performance Manager at Williams Racinghappy to see the Australian Grand Prix back this weekend, for the first time in two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After a very disappointing Saudi Arabian Grand Prixor both Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi retired, Robson is very happy to return to Australia this weekend. Formula 1 does not return to the usual Albert Park Circuit layout, drastic changes have been made to the layout for this weekend, in the hope that overtaking will be easier. This was clearly not enough, as this weekend will see four DRS zones around the Albert Park circuit.
“Racing in Melbourne again is a fantastic indication of a gradual return to pre-pandemic normalcy. Not being at Albert Park for two years was a real shame and we are delighted to be back and getting a taste of the new layout. of the circuit.
“Traditionally, the nature of Melbourne’s street circuits has created a fantastic technical and physical challenge for drivers, but has also resulted in difficulties in overtaking. Revisions to the layout and DRS zones should improve this, potentially making one of top circuits on the Formula 1 calendar.
With the removal of the old Turn 9/Turn 10 there is one less chicane in the layout, but nevertheless the low and high speed changes of direction still dominate the circuit. Braking stability, kerbside handling and car agility therefore remain key to the car’s setup. The much faster section between Turn 8 and Turn 11 will alter the downforce and drag trade, but with driver confidence also at a premium, removing too much downforce could be detrimental, and we can expect to see all the teams experiment on Friday.“
In an unusual turn of events, Pirelli are incredibly brave in their tire choice, having allocated the C2 and C3 compounds for all-weekend use but the C5 tire (the softest in their range) for qualifying! Robson expects this to play a huge role in the car’s setup.
“Adding to the complexity of the weekend is a brave choice of compound from Pirelli, with compounds C2 and C3 being the Prime and Option compounds as they were in Jeddah, but C5 being the qualifying compound here in Melbourne. imposing very different demands on the car setup for qualifying and the race, but without the ability to change the setup on Saturday night, that trade-off could be crucial.
Williams endured a horrible weekend at Jeddah Corniche Tour and a repeat simply cannot happen for the British team, Robson hopes it will be a cleaner weekend for the team.
“After our difficult weekend in Jeddah, we are looking forward to a clean event here as we look to extract a little more potential from the FW44. The challenges here are different from those in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and we we will therefore be open-minded and pragmatic in our approach.