Austrian Grand Prix 2020 – Race

Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing FW43. Austrian Grand Prix, Sunday 5th July 2020. Spielberg, Austria.

Race Notes

  • Nicholas Latifi finished 11th on his Formula One debut in the Austrian Grand Prix
  • George Russell was forced to retire after losing fuel pressure on lap 49
  • George started the race 17th, and Nicholas 20th, both on the medium Pirelli tyre
  • Both cars pitted under the Safety Car for the hard Pirelli tyre, George on lap 25 and Nicholas the following lap
  • Nicholas made a second stop, again under a Safety Car, on lap 56 for the soft Pirelli tyre

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The race was busy with a high attrition rate, which sadly included the retirement of George due to concerns with the fuel pressure. Further investigation is on-going and the Power Unit will return to Brixworth for some system tests to determine the root cause of this issue. It was a frustrating end to the weekend for George who until then was having a strong weekend.

Nicholas completed his first F1 race this afternoon and he drove very well in some challenging circumstances. Although he finished just out of the points, he was able to complete the full race distance and as a result gain a lot of valuable experience from the day; although he has practiced race situations repeatedly in the simulator, there is no substitute for the real thing.

We now have a few days to prepare for the second race of the new season. If the weather allows then this will be a rare opportunity to test some alternative approaches over a full race distance. On Friday we will also give Jack Aitken his first experience of the FW43 as he drives George’s car during FP1. Jack has been working hard with the engineers in Grove and we are looking forward to working with him at the track as we continue with our intensive test programme.

Nicholas Latifi: Firstly, thanks to the team for getting us here, it has been a long way to come here. Today was all about learning for me. We struggled early on in the race with some cooling issues so I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. It was about managing a bunch of things, but that is part of Formula One, it can happen. We got caught out by the first safety car, by staying out an extra lap. Most of the race was unfortunately done by myself, so it was nice that the safety car came out at the end so I could experience running close to the other cars. I am frustrated that I was so close to getting a point, but it is a learning experience and I will come back stronger next weekend.

George Russell: We didn’t have as much pace as we were hoping for today, and I struggled a lot out there. I was trying my hardest to hang on with the Haas and the Alfa Romeo, but they were too fast. I had a fuel pressure loss, but I don’t know all the details, I just had to turn the car off. It’s a shame as there were a lot of mistakes made out there today and many cars stopped. It is just one of those things. We still need to make some improvements, and we have the opportunity next week to do that.

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