Round Four of the 2022 Formula One season brought us back to Europe where we were welcomed with some changeable conditions to really spice up the action.
Having arrived back from Imola, the team got straight down to work on Monday, reflecting on the data gained in Italy’s motorsport heartland.
Wet weather running
Other than a short amount spent on a wet track during the Pre-Season Track Session in Barcelona and a pretty damp Silverstone shakedown
, none of the teams throughout the paddock had any meaningful data on running in inclement weather.
Friday quickly changed all that as our FW44 gained its first taste of the rain during FP1 before it was straight into qualifying for the F1 Sprint.
It’s safe to say it was a difficult day for the team, but without those struggles on Friday, we would have been unable to make the progress we did during Sunday's Grand Prix.
The knowledge we gained proved invaluable after starting the race in intermediate conditions before becoming one of the first to switch for medium tyres on a drying track.
Nicky takes to a slippery Imola track on Friday
Quicker than quick
As the team back at the factory continue to work hard to progress the FW44 for the remaining 19 races of the season, something that was confirmed to us at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was our straight-line speed.
Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi both topped the speed trap charts for the race, clocking 297.9 and 296.9km/h respectively just before the braking zone for Rivazza.
This high top-speed undoubtedly proved vital during the 63-lap event, with Alex’s Race Engineer, James Urwin, quoted on the team radio as saying “you have 10km/h over Ocon on the straights.”
Alongside his racecraft, the raw speed certainly helped Albono keep both Pierre Gasly and Lewis Hamilton at bay, with Nicky also using it to fend off Zhou Guanyu and Mick Schumacher for large portions of the Grand Prix.
Albono and Senior Race Engineer James Urwin chat strategy before Sunday’s race
We certainly learned that we could have done with it being activated just a few laps earlier. Safety is at the top of the FIA’s list of priorities, and with the track not fully dry - especially off the racing line - it was understandable why the stewards delayed the decision.
Having passed Hamilton shortly before the Villeneuve Chicane and then Gasly into Tamburello a lap later, Alex was soon all over the back of Esteban Ocon.
The Thai driver was (politely) asking over the radio about the possibility of getting DRS activated to help with his pursuit of a points-paying position whilst his tyres were in their best operating window.
Alas, the decision ultimately came too late for our No23, as he ended up getting stuck in the dirty air of the Frenchman in front, whilst under pressure from a Frenchman behind… sacré bleu!
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F1 is as popular as ever
After back-to-back seasons of racing at this historic venue behind closed doors, the Tifosi made up for missed opportunities, packing every grandstand and catching a glimpse of the action from wherever was possible.
We also got the opportunity to welcome in our very own superfan, Christian Andrea Arcuri, and were able to give him a tour of our newly refurbished motorhome, as can be seen in the latest episode of The Williams Warm-Up.
We’re expecting big things from Miami next up, and with Montreal and Silverstone soon creeping up on us, we’re expecting big things from the fans over the next few months!
Catch up on The Williams Warm-Up