23.09.21 F1 Race Preview

Track walking in Russia


Are they absolutely necessary? No. But do they often prove valuable? Yes. The track walk always kicks off my Grand Prix weekends on a Thursday. And this week’s 15th round of the season in Sochi, Russia is no exception.

They’re a big part of the routine for a lot of drivers and I’m happy to dedicate around 90 minutes of my schedule to them. You never know what you might discover as you check out the asphalt, kerbs and general lay of the land.

I’ve been to most circuits several times now, but if we do have a new venue then the track walk is vital to get a first up-close view of the corners. That includes things like asphalt changes, bumps depending on the rubber line, or just generally sussing out the particular track characteristics.

Today I’ll walk the 5.84km of Sochi with my engineers and, first and foremost, we’ll be looking out for any changes to the circuit compared to previous years.

We’ll discuss each corner as we go. Was it a strong point last year, and if so, why? And if not, then how can we make it better this time around?

Usually there’s a lot of time between corners so as we’re walking, we’ll use the opportunity for a wider discussion. We’ll talk through the previous race, see if anything has come up since the last debrief, and tie up any loose ends.

Looking ahead, we’ll go over the run plans, what’s going to be prioritised, are there any specific test items, and review the main set-up windows and run programmes for our cars.

It’s a great opportunity to speak freely and openly outside of the office or garage environment, which is where we’ll spend the remainder of the weekend!

As I said, it’s not 100 per cent necessary to do track walks. But it’s part of the routine at Williams and I’m certainly not bored of them yet…



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