The 2023 Japanese Grand Prix won’t be a race that will live long in our memory, but we will use it to push forward into the final six races of the year.
On an afternoon like the one we had on Sunday, communication is key and the relationship between drivers and their Race Engineers is crucial.
Discover how our afternoon panned out across the airwaves as we highlight our key moments via our Radio Replay.
PIT to ALEX: “OK Alex, cars in front of you: Lawson, Tsunoda, Alonso on soft. The other soft runners are P16 and behind. Bottas, Stroll, Hulkenberg and Zhou”
Getting the tyre information across to the drivers is incredibly important. In this case, Alex – starting on mediums – learns that there will be some drivers around him on quicker rubber at the start.
ALEX to PIT: “I don’t know what damage I have.”
PIT to ALEX: “Copy, we’re looking… tyre pressures are OK, we’re just looking at the front wing damage.”
ALEX to PIT: “Definitely something.”
PIT to ALEX: “Safety Car, stick to the delta. Stand by. OK, we’ll stop this lap for a front wing change and new tyres, it will be a long stop.”
It was a heavy hit for Alex shortly after the race start and it was clear that a pit stop would be needed. The deployment of the Safety Car allowed the team to assess everything before Alex eventually made it back around to the pits.
PIT to LOGAN: “Box box, box box.”
PIT to LOGAN: “From SC1 you can push flat out. Stop in the box, stay in first gear, and hold the brakes. You will be held for 10 seconds, then released. The car should not move and should not be touched. You’ll be racing Bottas on the pit exit…OK, you’re ahead of Bottas.”
The Safety Car gave us the opportunity to clear Logan’s 10-second time penalty and get him back out into the pack, a chance we duly took up. All this meant he was already up a place from his pit lane start.
LOGAN to PIT: “OK, so back to a normal race, correct?”
PIT to LOGAN: “Affirm, everything to play for.”
LOGAN to PIT: “Let’s get it.”
PIT to LOGAN: “50 to go. Keep working your brakes.”
Seeking confirmation that he was in the fight, we confirmed to Logan that he was back in the race.
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LOGAN to PIT: “I think my front wing is done. I have a big flat spot.”
PIT to LOGAN: “Box box, box box.”
LOGAN to PIT: “Ah, I just completely locked up.”
The team had 30 seconds to prepare for Logan’s return to the pits after his lock up and subsequent collision with Valtteri Bottas. Our crew sprung into action and turned Logan’s car back around with a new wing and tyres in roughly 20 seconds.
PIT to ALEX: “OK, we think the floor load loss is worth about four turns of wing, plus four turns.
ALEX to PIT: “Maybe five, whatever we need to do, just sacrifice my race for whatever we need to do.”
PIT to ALEX: “Copy, so at least five and maybe a bit more to reset tools.”
With a couple of full-speed racing laps under his belt, the team were now able to fully assess the damage and what needed to be done to rectify the situation. Knowing that this would mean another stop, Alex was fine for the team to do whatever they needed to keep us in the battle.
3 Minute Missions
Get to know different members of the Williams Racing team in three minutes or less.
PIT to LOGAN: “OK Logan, box box, we need to retire the car, please confirm.”
PIT to LOGAN: “Just watch out for Leclerc three behind, Sainz six behind, Hamilton ten behind. Keep your pace and box.”
PIT to ALEX: “OK Alex, it’s clear behind. We need to retire the car, go to switch “go in”, PU cooling on the way in. We need to retire the car, it’s clear behind.”
It’s the message no racing driver wants to receive, but we had to share it with both our drivers. After suffering progressive damage from their respective incidents, the decision was made to bring them both in.
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