Simon Roberts has explained the decision to reduce the pre-season testing time for Williams’ race drivers by giving Roy Nissany a full day in the car.
Testing for the 2021 campaign takes place in Bahrain from March 12-14 and has been shortened to just three days of running this year, with most teams giving their two race drivers a day-and-a-half each on the track.
But Williams have added an extra element into the mix by granting Nissany, their 26-year-old Israeli development driver, as much time as George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, who will be racing the FW43B.
Nissany took part in three FP1 sessions last season while also competing in the Formula 2 Championship, a series in which he has a best finish of P8 in his 44 races so far. He is switching to the DAMS team for the 2021 campaign.
Roberts, the Williams team principal, does not think Russell and Latifi will be unduly inconvenienced by missing half a day apiece of their testing time allocation, largely because the FW43B is so similar to its predecessor due to the relatively static regulations this year.
Introducing the FW43B 💙🤍💛 pic.twitter.com/4AF7Au4B5a
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) March 5, 2021
“We’ve split the test up, a driver each day,” said Roberts in a video interview with the Formula 1 website.
“It’s good for Roy [Nissany] to get that experience in the car. We can use the day with Roy to do stuff that then leaves the [race] drivers to focus on other parts of the programme.
“Due to the carry-over it’s not the normal complete systems reset and shakedown, so we have pretty high expectations in terms of mileage and reliability.”
Roberts thinks Williams may get an early indication in testing of how Williams compare to the teams they are likely to be competing against most closely this season, namely Haas and Alfa Romeo, but is aware the ultimate proof will be at the opening race weekend in Bahrain at the end of this month.
“I’m pretty confident we have a good car and that the work that’s been done underneath will improve reliability,” said Roberts.
“We’ll get an inkling maybe of our race pace against the others during the test, but it’s not until we get to qualifying and the race that we’ll really know what the performance is like.
“I’m hopeful we have made some improvements that will make a difference but it’s too early at the moment to say how far that will take us.”