Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2022

Spanish GP showed Williams is “missing so much” compared to rival cars

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In the round-up: Nicholas Latifi says last weekend’s race in Spain shows Williams have a fundamental lack of downforce compared to their rivals.

In brief

Catalunya spotlighted Williams’ deficit – Latifi

The first day of practice at the Spanish Grand Prix was “the worst Friday we’ve had in three years”, said Latifi.

“This track just relies so much on maximum downforce, so although the balance is not perfect, this track has exposed we’re just missing so much,” he explained.

While his team mate Alexander Albon has delivered some points finishes for the team this year, the Circuit de Catalunya proved their weakest track so far.

“This track is the reference track for everyone,” said Latifi, “you just put the downforce you have. And we’re still one of the quickest on the straights by far – so that shows we need a bit more – and we’re very, very slow in the corners, especially the high speed, compared to everyone else.

“It just makes managing the tyres so much more difficult. You’re just constantly sliding around. So it definitely gives, I think, some good info for the guys back in the factory.”

Alfa Romeo working hard on reliability after double retirement – Zhou

After suffering retirements in both Miami and Barcelona, Zhou Guanyu is confident Alfa Romeo have resolved the reliability problems on his car.

The 2022 rookie said Monaco was a track it was especially important to trust your car at. “It’s a place where you need to respect the track and finding the right feeling in the practice sessions will be very important, but I know the team is behind me and I can rely on them to make the most of the weekend.

“We have all been working very hard to make sure reliability issues don’t get in the way of our work anymore and I’m confident we can show again how competitive we can be. I have some very good memories from Monaco, where I won last year [in Formula 2] and I am keen to make more now that I am in F1.”

Chance of overtakes “minuscule” but crashes “massive” in 2022 cars at Monaco

Lewis Hamilton has said that Monaco’s traditional grand prix circuit leaves 2022 F1 cars with almost no chance of performing overtakes.

“Our cars are bigger than ever before, wider than ever before, the track is the same width that it’s been forever and we’re faster than ever through Monaco so the percentage chance of overtaking is minuscule, the chances of crashing are massive and so qualifying position is everything,” he explained.

Hamilton, who has won the Monaco Grand Prix three times, described it as “a track where you have to be able to have your cake and eat it, in terms of how you approach each corner. In other circuits sometimes you brake a little bit earlier going in and work on making sure you get the exit; in Monaco you want to make sure you take everything on the way in and everything on the way out.”

Ferrari adds Fabrizio Donoso to F1 esports line-up

Ferrari’s esports team has signed repeated F1 esports finalist Fabrizio Donoso to its squad. The Chilean sim racer has competed in every year of the tournament, having been with Renault and Alpine’s esports team for the past two years.

“Coming into 2022, my future wasn’t decided and I can say today I’m very lucky that Ferrari put its trust in me for the upcoming season,” said Donoso.

“Racing for that legendary name has always been a dream of mine for those who know me very well and it’s finally coming true. I’m looking forward to the season with Brendon [Leigh, 2017 and 18 champion] David [Tonizza, 2019 champion] and Kamil [Pawlowski] as I’m sure we can achieve the success we want.”

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Comment of the day

After McLaren joined the list of teams saying it will be nearly impossible to stick to F1’s budget cap if inflation and freight costs continue to rise, Frood 19 raises a point about F1’s international status. Will teams based in different countries need different budget cap increases? And if so, how could that be implemented?

What happens if inflation is different in different countries? For example, it could be as high as 9% in the UK but lower in Italy. Similarly, energy costs are rocketing in the UK but not increased nearly as much in France. In that scenario would Ferrari and Toro Rosso get given a different cap to the UK teams?

To extend this thought, if the UK goes into recession and it effects F1 teams (or wider supply chain) significantly, what happens then? Is it a sporting issue for the FIA?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Lustigson and Zazeems!

On this day in motorsport

  • 20 years ago today David Coulthard passed pole-winner Juan Pablo Montoya off the line and won the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of Michael Schumacher

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Spanish GP showed Williams is “missing so much” compared to rival cars”

  1. Modern cars are not wider than ever before.

    They are wider than they were between 1998-2016 but are a little narrower than they were before 1998.

    And TBH i think the wider cars looked/look better than the narrow track car which never looked right to me. I always felt they looked oddly proportioned and a bit boxey.

    And as i recall the narrower cars had a smaller floow and diffuser which pushed a heavier reliance of aero. And given how important the floor and diffuser is with the current ground effects i think those narrow cars wouldn’t work now as they would hinder the ground effect efficiency.

    The wheel base and weight need to be brought down but I’d be prefer cars stay at 2m.

    And interestingly back when cars were 2m or wider we used to see more overtaking at Monaco than we did even with the 1.8m cars you would have thought might have made it a bit more possible.

    1. Yes, but nonetheless 1.8m wide cars would help a bit, cars could look good 1.8m wide if only they’d be shortened by a good chunk 1m at least, maybe more. Like you said the pesky wings don’t help and the faster you go the more dirty air is created. The infamous Senna/Mansell race illustrates that even when aero was a lot less well understood, 2m wide cars could not overtake at Monaco.
      Current wings are unfortunately still massive, judging by lap times, weight corrected these are the fastest cars we have had. I wish f1 can force a trully significant cut in wing size in order to make a real dent on dirty air.

    2. i think the wider cars looked/look better than the narrow track car which never looked right to me. I always felt they looked oddly proportioned and a bit boxey.

      Reducing width and overall length and weight will greatly increase the quality of racing, especially on the smaller tracks. The current heavier cars need much more downforce to stay on the track and hence more dirty air falling them. The ridiculous long chassis prevents them fitting in smaller, tighter spots nor can turn as tight a radius with very long chassis (currently it’s the same as a Ford F-150 pickup) so they wreak havoc on tires, and the heavier cars are not as nimble, its like trying a whole family with you aboard riding with you as oppose without. All this of this mass being pushed down the road takes huge amounts of energy as well to get around the track. It’s exponentially becoming a problem when trying to have tight competitive racing.

      Weight, weight , width and length. Shrink them down while keeping the same safety specs in place. Get the proportions down to fin on legacy tracks,,we don’t want to look those classics to parking lot races.

      Keeping chassis wide for the aesthetics is not exactly a good or logical reason and promotes parades on a regally basis.

  2. Finland embarrassed themselves, they could not finish the track in time so they ended up covering up for it. Nordics tend to be so organised but Finland messed up and they can’t own it. The announcement should have come up much sooner but now it is a good time for pulling up excuses. They went through the book of excuses, lack of raw materials, covid and fear from that thing you know. Some managed but guess it is not the Finland promoters fault.

    1. The track is fine, come around and do some laps, you’ll like it.
      The facilities are unfinished and the current operators business plan has baffled the public for ages, they seem to be pretty much waiting for an Angel investor to step in and save the day. But, they built a Grade 1 track for under 30M €
      And no, as a nation, Finland does not feel embarrassed for a private company’s failures.

  3. And as i recall

    Smaller cars have less aerodynamic surface area. The relationship between mechanical grip and aero grip moves toward mechanical, particularly so if the body is kept minimal, clean and free from appendages.
    The aero efficiency can be the same, but the total amounts of downforce and drag produced can be smaller.
    Basically, less aero = better racing cars which put more emphasis on the driver.
    More aero simply = faster/easier around corners and more destructive aerodynamic interference in racing situations.

    The cars are way too wide at 2m. 1.7-1.8 would be plenty – proportions can still be similar (if appearance is really that important to you) if the length and height are reduced at the same time.

    And interestingly back when cars were 2m or wider we used to see more overtaking at Monaco

    I think that’s a bit of an mistruth.
    What we used to see was more cars on the track, less reliability and, at times, wider field spread making more overtaking of backmarkers a necessity. Also, the blue flags were used in a different manner in the past – more as an advisory ‘there’s a faster car behind you’ whereas now they mean ‘pull over or be penalised.’
    There were the occasional lunges in the past, but they’d be penalised now. And even if the drivers did feel like pulling a move, they’ll more often than not be told to wait until the pit stop to undercut instead.

  4. Williams has been the outright slowest from the get-go & the Montmelo circuit being a general reference track for all this only got exacerbated. Sad how they ended up back last following the recent past upward trajectory.

    Alfa certainly needs to improve reliability to maximize point chances.

    Miniscule, yes, but overtaking has never been any easier in Monaco.
    Therefore, as always, qualifying is key for success in the race itself.
    Whether crash chances are higher than before, we’ll see.

    I’m slightly surprised Leclerc went for Italian rather than his native French, not that this hugely matters as everything’s pretty trivial anyway.

    The thoughts in COTD are interesting, but giving different caps to teams would be unfair, so I’m unsure they’d agree even if inflation levels differed between the countries where they’re based.
    The 2nd paragraph is also interesting, albeit I’ve struggled to think of a proper answer or whether that would be a sporting issue for FIA.

    1. I do think the CotD (thanks @frood19 for writing it) raises a valid point to consider / ponder / discuss about @jerejj.

      1. I think most of the talk around the budget limit is increases in fuel prices that in turn increase freight costs. I don’t think the specialised equipment F1 teams use follow or are part of the inflation index.

        1. Yeah, race fuel has always been ridiculously expensive.
          But with oil and (therefore) diesel prices rising, everything else the teams do goes up in cost.

          That’s not to say that the budget cap should be raised (it shouldn’t) but they do need to focus on cutbacks elsewhere to offset the more expensive transport.
          As in, budgeting….

        2. I would think it is mostly about the cost of energy @afonic. That means the transport cost, but also let’s not forget how big a part of their development budget goes towards energy for running the wind tunnel and the huge computer clusters to do their CFD.

  5. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    26th May 2022, 9:18

    How many seasons has Williams been at the far back now? Last year they claimed they had a big chance to profit from the new regulations, but they dropped the ball worse than Mercedes. At this rate, I can’t see them (or their sponsors) stick around much longer. They have the facilities, they have the money, they just fail to use them properly.

    1. Looks bad yes. Prime target for Audi purchase.

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