Williams enjoy “solid day” to kick-start pre-season

Day one of the Barcelona pre-season track session is under our belts and both drivers enjoyed plenty of running in the Spanish sunshine.

Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon both amassed 66 laps each around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as they got to grips with the all-new generation of Formula One machinery.

Our Canadian strapped in for the morning session and was pleased with the progress made, saying: “The first session back in the car after a few months off is always interesting.

“You can tell it’s a different design philosophy, especially with the tyres, as it was my first time driving the new 18-inch Pirellis.

“Overall, it feels different and there are a few things that, for me, feel quite positive already compared to last year and there are things that need adjusting. But it is still very early days.

“This morning’s focus was about understanding the systems and the aero platform sensitivities. It was a good day overall.”
After waiting patiently all morning for his chance to push the FW44, Albono was soon able to drive late into the Catalan sunset.

It was the longest stint the No23 has spent in an F1 car for over 12 months, but our Thai racer is already looking forward to hopping back in on Thursday morning, saying: “I’m really happy with my first proper session in the FW44 this afternoon.

“The car felt great and the team here in Barcelona did an incredible job. We got some good mileage in which is really important and a great start to the year. 

“The first days on track are usually spent making sure everything is running smoothly and, because it is, we managed to make a start working on the performance of the car.

“We only have six days testing before the first race, so to be honing in on performance already is a real positive. I’m looking forward to getting back out tomorrow morning!”

Dave Robson, our Head of Vehicle Performance, was also happy with the laps managed around the 4.65km circuit, adding: “It’s been a solid day in Barcelona starting to understand the FW44.

“We had very few problems given how many new concepts there are on the car and both drivers had a good opportunity to complete long runs on several of the Pirelli tyre compounds.

“It is very early days, but we have made a good start and have identified several opportunities to improve the performance of the car.

“Alex was immediately comfortable in the car and was on the pace straight away. He will drive the car again in the morning before Nicholas returns in the afternoon.

“We are looking forward to another productive day as we continue our preparation for the season ahead.”

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