The next generation of Formula One cars all took to a circuit for the very first time last week in the pre-season track session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
For Williams Racing, it proved a positive three days with Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon combining to record 347 laps.
With the team now back at Grove, join us as we take a look back at the insights we gained from our time in Spain.
The FW44 is beautiful on track
With our Silverstone shakedown given the typical treatment by the British weather, Barcelona presented us with the chance to finally see our new ride on the track in dry conditions and it didn’t disappoint, even if we do say so ourselves.
Our vibrant colour scheme glistened in the Spanish sunshine as Nicky and Albono put in lap after lap.
It seems we’re not alone in our love for our new look either, we loved seeing your reactions to the FW44.
If you want to learn more about the livery design process of our 2022 challenge, check out the very first episode of The Williams Warm-Up.
The team recorded the equivalent of just over five full race distances around the Spanish Grand Prix course across the three days.
Any issues we did suffer were resolved quickly in the garage to get us back out on track and bang in the fifth-most tours of the Catalan circuit in the paddock.
To have so much running has been crucial for the squad back at base to start analysing the large amount of data picked up, as Head of Vehicle performance Dave Robson alluded to on Friday evening, saying: “Whilst it has been hard work, the team have worked well together and as a result, we have collected a lot of data.
“This will be used to guide both the next round of car development and the run plans for the crucial test in Bahrain.”
The rain in Spain…
…falls mainly out of the back of water tankers. During the Friday lunch break, several tankers dropped thousands of gallons of water on the 4.655km track surface, providing teams with a crucial chance to fetch wet weather data.
With rain at Bahrain testing almost an impossibility, Nicky and Alex both got accustomed to the low-profile intermediate tyres in the only chance they’ll get before the season begins, something our Canadian described as “good learning”.
The whole theory behind the new generation of F1 cars is based on making wheel-to-wheel action more achievable and the early signs are promising.
The consensus from drivers up and down pit lane was that following another car is easier than in previous years, with plenty rehearsing these situations on the circuit.
Of course, there remains the caveat that it is still only pre-season, so the first chance that we’ll know for sure if the changes have paid off will be when the lights go green for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
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Keeping cards close to our chest
You didn’t really expect us to reveal all our learnings from Barcelona here, did you?!
Our team of engineers are furiously going through all the data as you read this, looking at how they can get the most out of our machine or any tweaks they think can be made to improve performance.
What this demonstrates is that Formula One truly is a team sport – our two drivers may write the headlines, but it wouldn’t be without the hard work of the hundreds back at Grove.
Everyone is putting in their all so that Williams are ready to hit the ground running once more in Bahrain.