Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: As we start to head towards the end of the 2022 season, the car is essentially unchanged from Japan and our job is to maximise the options around us to best suit the demands of COTA. Although there are some similarities to Suzuka, the overall demands of the circuit are different, and we’ll need to make some changes to the car to suit both the track layout and the softer tyre compounds that Pirelli have made available this weekend.
Logan Sargeant joins us on track for the first time this year having previously driven the FW43 at last year’s post-season test. He will drive Nicholas’s car in FP1 and will complete the usual engineering programme on that car. With this weekend having another extended FP2 session during which all teams will test candidate 2023 tyres for Pirelli, Logan’s input during FP1 will be vital to our progress. Although Nicholas will get a short amount of time to refamiliarize himself with the track before he starts the FP2 Pirelli programme, he will miss out on a lot of normal Friday running. However, he comes into this weekend off the back of a strong performance in Suzuka, and he will be able to use that momentum to get himself into a good position by qualifying.
We know from previous experience of coming to Austin that the weather at this time of year can be very variable, but the forecast for this weekend is for hot and sunny conditions throughout, which will mean that tyre management will be key on Sunday.
Alex Albon: It’s back to another home race for the team, at a great track with a great atmosphere. I really enjoy Circuit of the Americas; it has a good flow to it, and it will be interesting to see how the bumps are this year with these new stiffer cars.
Nicholas Latifi: I’m super excited to be heading back to Austin. It was one of the more enjoyable races last year and this will be only my second visit there as a F1 driver. In a way it’s the team’s second home race. The atmosphere in Austin is always great. The track is enjoyable and hopefully a bit smoother this year after repaving it as it has been bumpy in the past. I’ll be sitting out of FP1 for the first time, so I’ll be taking a slightly different approach to the weekend just trying to get up to speed in FP2. Nonetheless I’m hoping to make the most of it and have another strong weekend.
Logan Sargeant: To be making my FP1 debut at COTA in my home country is special moment for me. I’d like to thank Williams and Dorilton Motor Sports for this opportunity and the support they’ve given me since I joined the Academy this time last year in Austin. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the simulator at Grove and shadowing the team at previous race weekends to help with my preparations for FP1. It’ll be interesting to see how the new generation of cars compare to what I previously drove at the Young Driver Test last year. I’m excited to jump in the car and make the most of the session.