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

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
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022