George Russell believes the compromises Williams had to make in order to run its new car at the first test made it impossible to understand how much performance potential the FW42 has.
Williams completed a total of just 88 laps across one and a half days in testing after delays getting the new car ready, with Russell shaking it down on Wednesday and then splitting running with Robert Kubica on the final day. With such little mileage compared to its rivals, it was no surprise to see Williams at the bottom of the timing screens on Thursday but Russell says the car is still lacking in certain parts and therefore can’t even given hints as to its potential pace.
“It was very important to get some mileage under our belt and just get a feel for the car,” Russell said. “I’ve only done about 11 proper laps in the car but it gives us a good understanding of where we are at, the limitations and what we need to work on.
“It is definitely not in its full state — we’ve got some work to do to optimize everything because it is all last-minute so not everything has been 100%. We were trying to get the car on track in whatever means possible, which was important in itself. We just need to work hard over the weekend to get everything ready for Tuesday and next week.
“At this stage we’ve been so limited for mileage we have no idea what state the car is going to be in performance-wise. We are still trying to be positive and see how things progress over this weekend and see how things are going to be next week. Obviously we are behind the others in terms of experience but I’ve got full faith in the guys to do the job.”
The 2018 Formula 2 champion says the lack of running so far should not result in low expectations, pointing out past occasions where teams have done little testing but proven competitive.
“I think even myself, until you are involved in a Formula 1 team, you don’t understand how much work goes on just to get a Formula 1 car on the track. I went around the factory and met everyone in January and I was amazed. Despite being in a Formula 1 team for two years, I was still amazed about how much effort goes in to make the simplest of parts.
“We’ve seen it before — Force India missed the whole of the 2015 test, I want to say, and they still finished fifth in the championship. You don’t get points for testing, so who knows what will happen.”