George Russell, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Williams must address “particularly slow” race pace – Russell

2020 Styrian Grand Prix

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George Russell says the race performance of Williams’ FW43 has proved much less competitive than they expected before the championship began.

After finishing yesterday’s race two laps down in 16th place with only team mate Nicholas Latifi behind him, Russell said the team’s initial impressions of the car from pre-season testing had been confounded.

“Our pace was particularly slow today and it has been now for two weeks in a row,” said Russell, who took the chequered flag 15 seconds behind Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri.

“Coming into these two race weekends we thought our race pace would be stronger than our quali pace and it’s absolutely turned out to be the opposite way. So we need to understand that and improve.”

Russell apologised for losing time early in the race by sliding into a gravel trap at turn six while defending from Kevin Magnussen on lap three, falling from 11th to 18th.

“I completely messed that up at the start,” Russell admitted. “I made a good start, maintained the position and was just trying to hold position on the outside of turn six and just completely lost it and there was no group out there.

“So I need to say apologies to the team and I’ll bounce back next week.”

Russell started from 11th on the grid, the highest position for a Williams driver since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. The team addressed cooling problems it had encountered during the first race, raising hopes the car would perform better in the cooler conditions last weekend.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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11 comments on “Williams must address “particularly slow” race pace – Russell”

  1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    13th July 2020, 13:13

    How long will it take for Williams to change the way they operate? Obviously, it’s not a winning strategy.

    In fact, Racing Point and Haas (previous year) have proven that car is quickest when it’s based on the design of a top car.

    I suspect Alpha Tauri also shares some design elements or aerodynamic ideas with Red Bull’s design.

    In F1, you have to adopt a strategy of imitation and innovation , not just innovation.

    1. Williams seem to have to intention to imitation the other F1 teams, inasmuch that imitating the other nine means to actually be competitive.

  2. There is nothing innovative about the Williams, and it is only an evolution of last year’s car. God knows how they will go in 2022 rule changes, I suspect worse. By then Russell’s talent like other Mercedes juniors might be in formula e, super formula or dtm. If I were Russell’s management, I would be pushing for a change to a midfield team next year, cos it looks like he will dominate latiffi like he did kubica and for nothing.

    1. When you are 0.5s a lap faster than your teammate and reach 16th place…. that is not terribly impressive.

      1. What is he supposed to do with a team that much off the pace?

      2. It is when you’re in a Williams. Just getting it to drive straight takes skill.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      14th July 2020, 15:41

      Well, with a whole new era in 2014 after a year with a terrible car, they had one of the best cars on the grid. Why would you assume that they will be worse than this year with a fresh start?

  3. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    13th July 2020, 14:24

    With McLaren switching to Mercedes units, alongside Mercedes and Racing Point/Aston Martin, I wonder what room there is for Williams. I’d rather like to see them switch to a different engine, perhaps with greater support – presumably Renault as they’ll drop to one team after McLaren leaves and they’ve shown there’s some pace in that engine. Or revive their long-dead partnership with BMW.

    I’m fond of Williams. I think of any team on the grid they’re the ones I’d want to see a super strong revival from. Hopefully.

    1. Why would BMW start making F1 turbo hybrid engines now? Theyre expensive to make and the engine makers now are barely staying in.

  4. Having tested the Mercedes F1 late last year, it must be especially frustrating for George Russell to realize what it could be to drive a win-capable car. Williams to be renamed Will I sell?

  5. Russell has shone, but he’s gone off track quite a lot as well. He was holding up nicely and then dropped the ball, even before going off.

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