After finishing out the first Grand Prix of the 2021 season in P14, Williams’ George Russell has his sights set on Imola, where he believes the team will perform better.
The UK-based outfit has had a particularly dry spell with points since 2019, and after both drivers finished outside the points last Sunday, the championship’s next location will hopefully mark a step forward for them.
Williams will be looking to improve on their performance from R1, however, with ongoing wind sensitivity issues, it’s likely they’ll be competing towards the back once again.
The last time they recorded a win at Imola was during the 2001 Grand Prix, which marked the team’s return to being considered a big player in F1 at the time.
The 62-lap race was won by Ralf Schumacher driving a Williams-BMW after starting from third position, marking the first win for Williams since Jacques Villeneuve had been victorious at the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix.
In 2021, they showed some improvements on 2020 during pre-season testing in Bahrain at the beginning of March, but the pressure is on now for the new owners to get results.
Speaking after the opening race, Russell said he thinks Imola will suit the team more, with kinder high-speed corner angles:
“Imola’s the next race and it’s very different to Bahrain so you’re going from two ends of the spectrum.
“Bahrain’s got a lot of slow-speed corners, very exposed, generally very windy.
“Imola is a lot of high-speed corners, the angle of those corners are less – more 90-degree corners as opposed to 180-degree corners as we see here – and it’s very enclosed with all the trees and the buildings around.
“So we’re going between two extremes really. I’m not necessarily saying Imola is at the top end but it’s in the top half, let’s say.”
Cars will hit the track, at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, on April 16 for Free Practice, followed by Qualifying on the 17th and the second race of the season on April 18.