Williams Technical Director Paddy Lowe says that the team are very disappointed to have missed out on the first two days of track time in Barcelona, but that they are now ‘looking forward’ to the time left.
Lowe arrived in Spain with most of the test team for Williams on Wednesday, having flown in overnight with his delayed FW42. Having been unable to take part in either of the first two days of testing, Williams understandably had to face a grilling from the press as they set up their car to head out for the afternoon session.
Claire Williams said that the team would not be ‘airing their dirty laundry’ when it came to talking about what had happened to cause the delay in the build process, but admitted that there were shortfalls that need to be addressed.
Having missed the first half of Wednesday’s track time as well, George Russell eventually clambered into the FW42 and the car was wheeled out of the garage on a dolly. With photographers surrounding the car in the pitlane, the engine was fired up around 3.30pm and Russell set off on a solitary installation lap before withdrawing immediately to the sanctuary of the garage.
About 45 minutes later, he came back for a longer run and eventually had racked up 23 laps by the time the chequered flag fell. His best time was 1:25.625, about eight seconds off the pace of the front.
“It’s very disappointing to miss two days of this first test in Barcelona, but we are very happy today that we got the car out for the afternoon session.” said Paddy Lowe, who cancelled a planned media session during the afternoon, with Williams citing the need for him to concentrate on the car.
“We were late but not for the lack of incredible effort from the whole team both in the factory and here in the garage. We spent the afternoon doing a number of systems checks and various data gathering programmes without any significant reliability issues, so we are happy with that as a first look at the FW42. This puts us in good shape to get down to some more significant programmes starting tomorrow morning. We have missed a lot of time, but we are looking forward at this stage and we will make the very best use of the five days remaining of winter testing. Thank you to all the staff for their teamwork and dedication in getting this car out today.”
George Russell, who, along with teammate Robert Kubica, were praised by Claire Williams for their patience and understanding of the situation, was pleased to finally get the chance to take part in an official day of F1 action as a race driver: “It was amazing to finally drive the FW42. Today we focused purely on install laps, shaking the car down and data gathering. Our focus was not on performance runs so I can’t judge the overall potential of the car, but I’m excited that we will get a full day of running tomorrow.”