Williams ‘flying on Sundays’ thanks to quali mode ban

Jamie Woodhouse
George Russell Williams

Jost Capito, Williams’ incoming CEO, has admitted “miracles are not to be expected” as the team aim to improve their fortunes in 2021.

George Russell believes the ban on engine ‘qualifying modes’ will hurt Williams a little in qualifying, but they will be “flying on Sundays”.

The technical directive, which bans teams from using these short-term power boosts in qualifying, was originally scheduled to come into force at the Belgian Grand Prix before being delayed until the upcoming Italian Grand Prix.

And at Monza the world of Formula 1 will finally be able to see what affect the ban has on Mercedes, the outfit which this directive largely targetted to take their ‘party mode’ off the table.

While Red Bull think Mercedes are now going to lose a heap of time, the Silver Arrows themselves believe that now they will simply be stronger in the races with more power available.

And Russell is siding with his parent team on this one, though he feels the ban is going to hurt Mercedes’ customer teams Racing Point, and sadly for the Briton, Williams also in qualifying.

The race though is a different story and Russell is very optimistic over what’s to come from the Mercedes power unit in the back of his FW43 on Sundays.

“I think unfortunately it will probably affect us and Racing Point more than Mercedes,” he said in a press conference ahead of the Italian GP.

“Purely because Mercedes are so far ahead in qualifying anyway.

“If anything it’s only going to help them even more in the race. So the whole idea of trying to slow them down is actually going to go completely the opposite way and is only going to enhance their performance.

“I think on a Saturday it will probably compromise us a tenth or two. But we expect it to also compromise the other manufacturers a tenth or so. So we are probably net one-tenth down on a Saturday.

“But on a Sunday we’re definitely net up by a big margin. And I think what Mercedes have done to improve the engine to allow us to run a very high engine mode for the whole race is really impressive and she’s going to be flying on the Sundays.”

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Russell’s team-mate Nicholas Latifi is also excited to see what’s to come in the races as Williams come armed with more power.

“Like George said, it’s going to be a few tenths, tenth or so, in qualifying, it’s going to hurt us a bit,” he said.

“But in the race it’s only going to help us so we’re going to have more allocation, more laps of a higher engine mode that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to run for so long. So it’s going to be interesting to see how it stacks up.”

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