The 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship continues this weekend, as the first event of a European double header gets underway: The Spanish Grand Prix. Having recently competed pre-season testing at the Spanish track, drivers and teams alike are very familiar with the challenges of the 4.675km circuit.
Nyck de Vries will join the team for Friday’s first Free Practice in Barcelona, taking to the track in place of Alex Albon, and fulfilling one of the two mandated young driver sessions this season. The 27-year old Dutch driver, the reigning FIA Formula E World Champion, will aid the team’s preparation work ahead of Qualifying and the Grand Prix. Alex will return to the FW44 from the second practice session.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The contrast between the new circuit in Miami and the familiarity of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya couldn't be starker. The drivers and engineers know the quirks and subtleties of this track very well and, whilst the car balance and tyre behaviour will be different to February, we have a good idea of what to expect and the areas that we will need to work on. The car has changed quite a lot since February and the much hotter track conditions will present very different problems. We showed some encouraging race pace at the last few events and our efforts are now focused on bringing the same level of performance to Qualifying. If we can do this successfully then we will be in a much stronger position going forwards. We are looking forward to having Nyck de Vries in the car for FP1 as it is always good to work with a new driver and get a fresh opinion on the car's strengths and weaknesses. Nyck's experience and professionalism will be crucial on Friday as he will complete some of the key engineering tests in FP1 before he hands the car back to Alex for FP2.
Sven Smeets, Sporting Director: I’m looking forward to seeing Nyck join the team for FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix. As he is a very talented and experienced driver I have no doubt that he’ll maximise his time in the FW44 and deliver a strong, capable performance for the team.
Nicholas Latifi: After a few street-style tracks, it’s going to be nice to get back to the more traditional Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. It’s a track that should give us a good measure of where we are with the FW44 and how we’ve developed it since testing at the beginning of the season. I think we all feel that we’ve gained a much better understanding of the car and evolved it well, so it will be positive to have that reference point of how far we’ve come. Hopefully, we can deliver a good result in Spain.
Alex Albon: It will good to head back to Barcelona; I’m interested to see how much the car has improved since we were last there for pre-season testing. It’s a good track, and one that every driver has done countless laps around, more so than any other circuit. That familiarity will work in my favour this weekend and help me get up to speed more quickly after sitting out FP1 whilst Nyck is in the car. We’re hungry for more points after Miami, so that’s what we’ll continue to push for.
Nyck de Vries: Firstly, I’d really like to thank Williams for the opportunity to run in FP1. It’s great for me to get to know the team and drive the FW44, and also to get myself out on track during a Formula One weekend. Preparation for the test is going well so far and the team have been incredibly supportive of me. I’m very much looking forward to the whole experience in Spain now!