The team heads across the Atlantic this weekend for the return of the United States Grand Prix following a COVID-enforced one-year absence from the FIA Formula One World Championship, with the thrilling Circuit of the Americas (COTA) playing host to one of the most anticipated race weekends of the calendar. The eclectic and vibrant city of Austin, state capital of Texas, provides the backdrop to the race whilst the 5.513km track offers a rollercoaster ride for driver and machine that puts both to the test.
The memorable first turn sees the cars tackle a steep gradient during the braking zone, before the circuit switches through a series of fast, sweeping bends ands heads out towards the far end of the track. A 1.00km straight brings the drivers back towards the final sector, rushing past the iconic observation tower before a tough to negotiate final sequence of corners ends the lap. Having first appeared on the calendar in 2012, COTA has become a firm favourite of both drivers and fans alike and the team looks forward to returning for the first time since 2019.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Returning to the COTA track for the first time since 2019 is something we are all looking forward to. The circuit is very much a tale of two halves, with a very high-speed section at the start of the lap, with the brakes hardly being touched before turn 11. Following the long back straight, the nature of the circuit changes dramatically, finishing with a combination of low speed corners and the long, almost never-ending turn 16, turn 17, turn 18 combination. The elevation change around the lap is significant and the rapid height gain prior to turn one is the signature incline. The circuit tends to change each year, with bumps coming and going as the substrate moves. Although we saw the MotoGP bikes race here a few weeks ago, we won’t really know what the impact of those bumps will be until we run the cars in FP1.
The weather in Austin at this time of year can be very varied and we can expect anything from dry hot conditions, to very cold and wet weather. Inevitably, the conditions we have on each day will have a significant effect on the tyre performance and we will need to remain flexible until the forecast becomes clear.
As the 2021 campaign enters its final phase of events, we will have no new upgrades and instead we are focussed on tuning the car and making the most of what we have as we look to defend our Championship position.
The USA now represents a second home race for us, and we look forward to welcoming our extended Williams family from Dorilton Capital to one of the best Grand Prix venues on the calendar.
George Russell: The Circuit of the Americas is an incredible track and the weekend as a whole in Texas is an incredibly cool experience. Austin is definitely one of my favourites cities we visit on the calendar, so I am really excited to head back to the United States. As a circuit, COTA has lots of character and is so fast and flowing but also bumpy, which adds another challenge. All in all, I’m really looking forward to it.
Nicholas Latifi: I’m super excited to get on the track in Austin. It’s one of the races I was most looking forward to this year, as I’ve not raced there yet. It’s a very well-rounded track; the first sector is very fast and flowing and seems like a lot of fun, the rest is slower speed and more technical so I’m looking forward to tackling that challenge. It’s the first time I’ll be back on the other side of the Atlantic since last year, so geographically, this is the closest I have to a home race in 2021.