We’re now into the bulk of a condensed 2020 Formula 1 season and Grands Prix are coming thick and fast.
Last week saw the circus travel to Montmelo, just outside Barcelona, Spain for the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix.
The row over Racing Point’s approach to their 2020 car design – in that it appears to be a copy of the 2019 Mercedes car that took Lewis Hamilton to his 6th World title, and the team to their 6th consecutive World Constructors title – rumbles on, with protests hither and thither from up and down the paddock.
Williams, at first, stated their intention to protest the design, and the subsequent decision to impose a £400k/15 point penalty on Racing Point, but then decided against it – perhaps as a result of there already being a couple of big hitters pushing ahead with it (Ferrari and Renault), and perhaps as a consequence of their relationship with Mercedes Benz, who have come down firmly on the side of RP. (McLaren, to whom Mercedes will supply PUs from next year doing likewise).
No matter, the saga rumbles on, and it doesn’t seem likely a conclusion that pleases everyone will be reached any time soon, if at all.
In FP1, Williams reserve driver Roy Nissany took to the track in an official F1 session to become Israel’s second ever Formula 1 driver (His father Chanoch being the first) taking over George Russell‘s car for the morning.
He finished the session just 0.3 of a second off the #6 car of Nicholas Latifi, bettering Nissany snr – who was 6.8 seconds off his team-mate in his lone F1 outing at the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix – by some margin.
From the outset it was clear that Williams had some work to do to secure a midfield berth, finding themselves propping up the timesheets in each of the three practices sessions.
Having made up some ground by the time qualifying arrived, both cars managed to nudge ahead of the Alfa of Giovinazzi, but no further, George breaking his run of four straight appearances in Q2.
Starting the race in p18, George managed to make up a couple of places at the start and spent the whole afternoon scrapping with Haas and Alfa Romeo cars that were, on paper, quicker than him, eventually taking the flag in 17th.
Latifi, coming from 1 place behind on the grid, struggled from the get-go switching to an alternate strategy in an attempt to give him more confidence in the car. This helped marginally, but not enough to prevent him finishing in 18th place.
“There are definitely positives to take away, so I’m relatively pleased with this afternoon” George told WilliamsF1.com after the race.
After a string of Grand Prix where neither Williams has been able to carry over its qualifying pace into the race, it was nice to see George seemingly more competitive come Sunday, but sadly his qualifying pace was relatively poor & so this may not have been the leap forward it might appear.
Next up it’s the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian Grand Prix in two weeks time. Sadly no fans allowed just yet, but we’ll be two weeks closer to getting back trackside!