The 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship continues this weekend, as the first event of a European double header gets underway: the Spanish Grand Prix. Having recently completed pre-season testing on the Spanish track, drivers and teams alike are very familiar with the challenges of the 4.675km circuit.
Nyck de Vries will join the team for Friday’s first free practice session in Barcelona, at the track in place of Alex Albon, completing one of two mandatory sessions for young drivers this season. The 27-year-old Dutch driver, the reigning FIA Formula E World Champion, will help the team prepare for qualifying and the Grand Prix. Alex returns to the FW44 from the second practice session.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The contrast between the new circuit in Miami and the familiarity of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya could not be greater. The drivers and engineers know the quirks and subtleties of this track very well and although the car’s balance and tire behavior will be different than in February, we have a good idea of what to expect and what areas we will need to work on. The car has changed quite a bit since February and the much warmer track conditions will present very different problems. We have shown an encouraging race pace over the past few events and our efforts are now focused on bringing the same level of performance into qualifying. If we can do this successfully, we will be much stronger in the future. We are looking forward to having Nyck de Vries in the car for FP1 as it is always good to work with a new driver and get a fresh mind on the strengths and weaknesses of the car. Nyck’s experience and professionalism will be crucial on Friday as he will complete some of the key technical tests in FP1 before returning the car to Alex for FP2.
Sven Smeets, Sporting Director: I am looking forward to seeing Nyck join the team for FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix. As he is a very talented and experienced driver, I have no doubt that he will maximize his time in the FW44 and deliver a strong, capable performance for the team.
Nicholas Latifi: After a few street-style circuits, it’s fun to return to the more traditional Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. It’s a track that should give us a good idea of where we are with the FW44 and how we’ve developed it since we tested at the start of the season. I think we all feel like we’ve understood and developed the car a lot better, so it’s going to be positive to have that reference point of how far we’ve come. Hopefully we can get a good result in Spain.
Alex Albon: It’s good to go back to Barcelona; I’m interested to see how much the car has improved since we were last there for the pre-season testing. It’s a good track and every driver has completed countless laps, more than any other track. That familiarity will work in my favor this weekend and help me get up to speed faster after sitting out FP1 with Nyck in the car. We’re hungry for more points after Miami, so we’ll keep pushing for that.
Nyck de Vries: First of all I would like to say a big thank you to Williams for the opportunity to drive in FP1. It’s great for me to get to know the team and drive the FW44, as well as getting myself on track during a Formula 1 weekend. Preparation for the test has been going well so far and the team has been incredibly supportive. I’m really looking forward to the whole experience in Spain now!