Williams FW46, side view, 2024

No Silverstone shakedown a strategic choice for Williams – Vowles

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In the round-up: Williams have taken a strategic choice not to shakedown their new FW46 prior to the Bahrain test

In brief

No Silverstone shakedown a strategic choice – Vowles

Williams team principal James Vowles says he made a deliberate strategic choice not to run their new FW46 for a shakedown run at Silverstone prior to this week’s test in Bahrain.

Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin have all run their new cars at the British Grand Prix circuit for one of their 200km filming days allowed under the regulations. However, Vowles explained that he preferred to save one of those days for later in the season.

“We could easily have run there, but there is balance between doing a virtual track test and Silverstone,” Vowles told media including RaceFans. “I’d much rather want to spend time dedicated to the virtual track test and then basically film it, rather than shake it down, in Bahrain.

“Silverstone, I have several feelings towards it. I’ve done it for a number of years, and sometimes you get some really good things out of it. Sometimes you’re running around on extreme wet tyres in blustery conditions with your pit equipment falling over and you don’t learn a single thing. And that balance means I’d much rather do virtual track testing and then bring the car to Bahrain where we can do that properly, and then furthermore, save that filming day for later in the year where we either need footage or we need some other questions to be answered.”

F1 Academy cuts season from 21 races to 14

F1 Academy will hold two races per weekend instead of three this year. The all-female series is running exclusively as a support series to Formula 1 for the first time in its second season.

However due to the limited time available during grand prix weekends, the series has taken the decision to drop its second, partial-reversed-grid race. The seven-round championship will therefore feature a total of 14 races instead of 21.

Wildcard confirmed for first F1 Academy round

Saudi Arabian driver Reema Juffali will be the first wildcard entry into this year’s F1 Academy series as she competes in the season opening round in Jeddah.

Noted for being the first woman from her country to be granted a racing license, the 32-year-old raced in the GT World Challenge series last year.

“As the saying goes: ‘if you can’t see it, you won’t believe it’. So, hopefully Saudi fans can see that there is a Saudi racing driver out there and it will get them to thinking that ‘this is something I can do’,” said Juffali. “It is for this reason I have decided to take this challenge on. This is just the beginning.”

Sato becomes Honda executive advisor

Takuma Sato, RLL, Indycar, Indianapolis 500, 2020
Two-times Indy 500 winner Sato has a new role at Honda
Two-times Indianapolis 500 winner and former Formula 1 podium finisher Takuma Sato has been named as an executive advisor for the Honda Racing Corporation.

The 47-year-old, who has raced with Honda power for the vast majority of his racing career, will support Honda’s driver development programme and “operational structure for racing activities.”

“In addition to passing on the skills and experience I have amassed to future generations,” Sato said, “I will still be a challenger and continue to take on new challenges together with Honda without losing the spirit of ‘no attack, no chance.’ Through such challenges, I will strive to contribute to the further advancement of Honda motorsports activities.”

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Comment of the day

With Lewis Hamilton moving from Mercedes to Ferrari after this season, David BR only expects problems between them if he and George Russell end up fighting for the title…

I don’t think it will bother Hamilton, he can just relax and drive the car as far as it will go without having to worry about development beyond the end of the season. It will be a bit trickier for Mercedes since they’ll want Hamilton – and Russell – to maximise results this year but may be wary about some stuff they’d rather Ferrari didn’t get to know.

The only awkward scenario I can imagine is if, for some weird reason, the two drivers end up in a title battle. Then the tensions between drivers and who is getting what extra tech, information, etc, could ratchet up. The closest comparison being Hamilton vs Fernando Alonso in 2007 when Alonso was clearly on his way out but in a title fight to the last race. Unlikely though.
David BR

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Mondol and Carlitox!


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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “No Silverstone shakedown a strategic choice for Williams – Vowles”

  1. All drivers must be women and 25 years of age or younger, and 16 years of age or older when entering their first race event of the season. Additionally, all drivers may only compete in two seasons of the series.

    So much for that rule, I suppose.

    1. Coventry Climax
      20th February 2024, 1:00

      Probably doesn’t apply as long as she wears FiA Alpha Tauri Official Clothing exclusively.
      And pays 100.000 fold for it with Saudian money.

    2. That doesn’t apply to the revolving seat, required to make the number of entries up to 16 as required to offer superlicence points, obviously.

  2. save that filming day for later in the year where we either need footage or we need some other questions to be answered.

    The filming day serves its purpose for necessary footage. However, the option to delay it for answering other questions seems unnecessary. If most teams require a shakedown for testing readiness, it should be explicitly outlined in the rules. It’s counterproductive for the FIA to have rules that are routinely disregarded, except by a who then openly acknowledge the option to disregard them further down the line.

    1. I think it’s a money saving thing…

  3. I found both The Sun & Japan Racing Insider articles interesting, especially the latter, for which generally, I don’t feel exceptions should necessarily be made & additionally, I’m skeptical about the part ”some studies even suggest that women can cope better with g-forces than men can.”

    1. “some studies even suggest that women can cope better with g-forces than men can.” I’ve heard that too! I always regarded The Sun as a reliable source of scientific data not as good as Cochrane but close enough.

      1. Might help if you bothered to read the article. But I’m sure you know better than a professional racing driver that obviously done a but of research into these things in the course of her career.

  4. While the FIA are patting themselves on the back the FIA KZ European Championship has had to cancel the first round after issues with securing tyre supply. An absolute joke of a situation and once again suggests the FIA are no longer suitable custodians of elite level karting.

    From the FIA.

    CIK-FIA President Akbar Ebrahim said: “This revised European Championship calendar for the KZ categories is the culmination of several months of negotiations, following an exceptional situation on the tyre supply that the CIK-FIA has dealt with. It is never ideal to have to change a programme and we understand the inconvenience this can cause to teams, drivers and organisers who had prepared for an earlier start to the season. We regret this inconvenience, but it was vital to ensure that the championships were maintained.”

    “The maintenance of the competitions was made possible thanks to the agreement reached with Anderson CSK and Dunlop for the supply of tyres. The KZ categories are incredibly important to the FIA and their success can be measured by the enthusiasm they generate among drivers whose numbers are growing year on year. 2023 produced some great races and I am certain that the level of competition and spectacle will be even higher in 2024.”

    Alessandro Manetti said “I think this situation is not good for karting!! For me, a situation like this is unacceptable!!!!”

  5. If Lewis went back to Stevenage to make his peace with that postman, Roscoe would probably bite him.

    Great to see hard-hitting investigative journalism’s alive and well at the Sun.

Comments are closed.