Williams relieved Russell and Latifi were finally able to 'fight and have some fun'
Simon Roberts believes the "little steps" taken by Williams last year finally allowed George Russell and Nicholas Latifi to "fight and have some fun" and show the team is moving in the right direction.
In his second year of racing in F1, Russell became a Q2 regular as he reached the second phase of qualifying on nine occasions for Williams after failing to progress from Q1 at all in his rookie campaign. Latifi, too, made one Q2 appearance.
Despite neither driver registering a point for the team, the season was judged by onlookers as an improvement on 2019.
“I think, from a driver’s point of view, the fact that they’ve now got a car they can get in the mix, I know we’re racing Haas and we’re racing Alfa Romeo, but at least the drivers have got someone to go and race and, as you saw, be a Q2 car," team boss Roberts told GPFans Global.
“This gives them some confidence as well. They know they’re in a race and they know they can fight and have some fun as opposed to just driving around, making up the numbers at the back which is not great for anybody.”
Describing 2020 as "a strange season", Roberts outlined the difficulties of transforming the back-of-the-gird FW42 of 2019 into a car capable of fighting the other backmarkers last year.
He explained: “I guess it started positively in a way because the car we ended the year with was much different from the car we had in '19.
"But we didn’t really see that early on because we were suffering getting the balance, getting the aero stability right.
“So the thing we were able to work on and really develop with the car was really around making the downforce that we had work really well.
“We introduced a couple of rear wings. They weren't revolutionary but they were developments and it was really a feature that, in finding more downforce from '19, certain parts of the car got overstressed.
"So wings that were perfectly happy suddenly weren't so happy and that was our main focus in the first part of the season.
“The first time we went well it was because we ran the new low downforce rear wing in Spa, so you can kind of look back retrospectively and see little steps that we’ve made and that has been good."
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