As the curtain came down on the 2022 Formula 1 Pro Championship, it was a bittersweet end for Williams Esports, who didn’t quite do enough in Event 4 to climb up the Constructors Standings, ultimately finishing the campaign in P10.
There were still plenty of positive moments in the topsy turvy final round, none more so than Álvaro Carretón bringing home our best Qualifying result of the season.
Here’s our detailed report of Event 4.
Race 10: Suzuka - Daniele Haddad and Álvaro Carretón
Qualifying: Daniele (P13). Álvaro (P19).
Race: Daniele (DNF). Alvaro (P18).
After a positive Event 3 performance, the drivers returned to their more comfortable home setups in the hope that they could extract everything possible out of the car in the final event of the season.
The first round of the event took the drivers to Suzuka, the site of Daniele’s last podium in F1 Esports.
However, sadly Qualifying didn’t go Álvaro’s way as he went out in Q1, but a delighted Daniele was able to progress to Q2.
Given this was the final event of the season, however, drivers would be racing much harder than ever before, leaving opportunities to move further up the field.
At lights out, a collision with the car in front meant that Álvaro was forced to pit on Lap 1, replacing his damaged front wing and putting on fresh medium tyres in an attempt to keep up with the pack.
Sadly though, this didn’t work out, but the Spaniard did still manage to achieve the fastest lap of the race.
Meanwhile, Daniele was in the thick of it for much of the race before a driver on an alternate strategy caused the middle pack to bunch up.
With a car spinning out in front of him, our Italian racer masterfully avoided the collision, only to then be pinned by two drivers either side, resulting in an unfortunate DNF.
Race 11: Interlagos - Álvaro Carretón and Shanaka Clay
Qualifying: Álvaro (P13). Shanaka (P18).
Race: Alvaro (P13). Shanaka (P18).
The penultimate event of the season took place at Interlagos in what is usually one of the most entertaining of the year, with the short track making the qualifying times even closer than usual.
In his final race of the season, Shanaka qualified in 18th, while Álvaro, who would race in each round in Event 4, ended Qualifying in P12.
The drivers headed into the lobby to discover that it would be a wet-dry race, with everyone opting for the intermediate tyres. Álvaro managed to maintain position from the start, but Shanaka was spun out early on, scuppering his chances to move through the pack.
With our Spaniard opting for a wet set-up in the race, when the track switched to dry, the car struggled to keep up with the runners in place. It meant that the Williams team had a lot to do going into the last race of the season at Abu Dhabi.
Race 12: Abu Dhabi - Álvaro Carretón and Daniele Haddad
Qualifying: Álvaro (P7). Daniele (P6).
Race: Álvaro (P13). Daniele (P11).
In what was the team’s best Qualifying performance of the season, Álvaro and Daniele breezed through Q1 and Q2, with our Spanish driver setting the fastest time in the Q2 session!
Heading into Q3, the drivers battled hard to achieve a P6 and P7 start for the race.
In the race, an electric start off the line for Álvaro pushed him up to P5, a position he maintained for the opening laps.
After the pits, the undercut from rival cars was very strong, and pushed Álvaro down to P8, with Daniele just outside the points in P11.
But a dramatic final two laps saw Álvaro move up to P5 after a collision with a rival Alpine car. Sadly, a post-race penalty moved the Spaniard outside of the points. Despite a disappointing season, Williams Esports would like to thank the consistent effort of Álvaro, Daniele and Shanaka, as well as the engineering team across the season.
Seb Hawkins, Williams Esports team manager, reflected on the campaign overall, saying: “We went into the season with a confident feeling knowing that we had two strong drivers joining us who were used to working with one another, partnered with one of the longest standing and experienced drivers in F1 Esports.
“It was clear from the start that we had a great team atmosphere and the drivers would enjoy working together alongside an ever-growing engineering team and a strong infrastructure behind them.
“The last race in the calendar summed up our season in many ways. We had everything going for us until the race itself, with a mixture of bad luck and mistakes.
“Although it is a shame that we haven’t managed to put everything together across an event, I have been proud of the consistent effort put in by Álvaro, Daniele and Shanaka, as well as the team, each day.
“Despite the disappointment, there have still been lots of positives to take and I am looking forward to working with them ahead of next season.”
Álvaro, who was understandably in positive spirits after his efforts in Abu Dhabi Quali, added his thoughts: “After missing out on one of my races last Event, it was great to be able to race in all three rounds this week.
“Despite disappointing results in the first two races, to top Q2 in the final race of the season and have a solid race afterwards was a brilliant feeling.
“While we didn’t meet our high expectations for the season, it has been a privilege to work with Daniele and Shanaka across the year, and I can’t wait for the 2023 season already!”
Shanaka was also in a reflective mood and is also looking ahead to 2023 now: “While the final week wasn’t personally a great success, I was delighted with how the team performed in the last two events.
“Overall, I feel like there was more I could show in the car this year, but it was great to get my first ever points in F1 Esports and I’m looking forward to working with Alvaro, Daniele and the team even more across 2023.”
Daniele completed our final reaction of the 2022 season, saying: “The final round at Abu Dhabi really showed our ability to compete with the top as a team, despite the bad luck.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with both Álvaro and Shanaka this year, and I feel like our relationship will become even stronger over the next year.
“Working with Williams has been a great experience, from being able to attend the HQ for Event 3 to trips to both the Monza and Imola GPs. I’m excited to see what challenges the next year with the team brings.”
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