Williams explains Russell gearbox issues, hopes for race of attrition

Williams remains unsure about the “couple of unrelated” problems that meant George Russell’s practice and race gearboxes had to be replaced at Formula 1’s 2021 Mexican Grand Prix.

Williams explains Russell gearbox issues, hopes for race of attrition
Listen to this article

Russell missed most of second practice on Friday afternoon after a transmission problem developed early in the one-hour session.

But he was already running the gearbox he had been set use in Sunday’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, after his usual high-mileage ‘practice’ gearbox had developed its own problem during FP1 and had been swapped out.

The problem on Russell’s race gearbox meant he takes a five-place grid penalty for getting a new replacement.

Williams’ head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, said the problems on the gearboxes were not the same.

“So, we had a couple of unrelated gearbox issues with George [on Friday],” Robson said after qualifying, where Russell finished 13th.

“We aren’t yet sure exactly what the cause was. They’re both slightly different issues. Not much else to say I’m afraid.

“In a way we were fortunate because we fitted the spare, which was actually his race gearbox.

“So at least it failed in FP2 rather than [Saturday or Sunday]. But we’re still looking into exactly what the cause was.”

Robson explained that as Williams normally faces “so few gearbox problems” it felt “fairly comfortable bringing the race boxes as a spare” for every grand prix, with the additional costs of transporting more gearboxes around the world the reason why it makes such a choice.

“There are some spare internal components here, so in effect the gearbox George ran in FP1 has been made up with a new set of parts and is now available as a spare here,” Robson added.

“There’s some extra stuff coming out from the UK to go to Brazil [next weekend].

“But it really is just a case of balancing risk. And on this occasion we would’ve rather had another one with us.

“But weighing everything up, the normal risks with the gearbox, it’s not worth the trade we don’t think.”

Russell will start 16th – ahead of the four drivers that have taken new engines this weekend – with Nicholas Latifi boosted from his 17th-place Q1 exit to start 15th by the various grid penalties.

With overtaking usually tough at the Mexico City track because the slipstream effect is reduced by thin air at high altitude, Robson says Williams is hoping the additional headaches the conditions make for F1 cars’ brakes and engines may result in an attritional race where his drivers can still make progress.

“Overtaking is pretty difficult normally here,” Robson explained.

“But I think equally the ambient conditions and the temperature is supposed to be similar to what we’ve had the last couple of days, which is unseasonably high when you look at the statistics for October-November here in Mexico.

“So, I think there is still some hope or expectation from us that it will be tough race for everyone.

“That the brakes, particularly at the front of the car, will be on the limit.

“And power units will have a tough time as keeping them cool is tricky as well.

“The tyres as well can behave a little bit peculiarly – particularly when you into all of that brake and power unit saving.

“So, I think normally, if everyone’s car is in good in health the whole race, sort of side by side racing, I don’t think we’ll see too much of that, not much overtaking.

“But it could become a bit more of a battle of attrition, which we’re hoping for anyway.”

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton will “work as a team” with Bottas at Mexico GP start
Previous article

Hamilton will “work as a team” with Bottas at Mexico GP start

Next article

The Mexican Grand Prix as it happened

The Mexican Grand Prix as it happened
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Prime

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Prime

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Prime

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022