Williams expecting ‘a little bit of mayhem’ at Baku Sprint

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Williams boss James Vowles says the British outfit is preparing for an eventful Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, with Baku hosting the first of Formula 1’s six Sprint events in 2023.

The fourth round of the F1 world championship could see a reworking of the weekend’s format, with a single practice session being held on Friday mid-day and qualifying for Sunday’s race taking place in the afternoon.

Saturday would feature a qualifying session that would determine the grid for a standalone Sprint in the afternoon.

However, while teams have indicated their support for the changes, specifics involving tyres and certain logistics still need to be ironed out before a formal proposal is submitted to a vote in front of the F1 Commission.

Regardless of whether there will be format changes or not, Vowles is anticipating a lively 30-minute mad dash around Baku’s fast but tight street circuit.

“What we have now coming up at the end of April is Baku, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix,” said the Williams chief.

“It’s going to be a sprint race weekend, potentially with slight modifications to the rules that we’ve had previously.

“That work is now ongoing in the background to understand how we should restructure that race weekend and what the implications that will be on everyone.

“Irrespective of whether the rules change or not, a sprint race weekend at that tight, twisty track where you go through the castle section is going to cause a little bit of mayhem.

“There’s going to be difficulties. Irrespective of that, that’s the preparation we’ve got to do going forward.”


While Williams only has Alex Albon’s P10 finish in Bahrain to show for its efforts in the first three races of 2023, Vowles is satisfied so far with the Grove-based squad’s performance level, describing the latter as “encouraging”.

“We’re three rounds through this 23-race season, and encouraging is the primary word that comes to mind,” he noted.

“We’ve been there or thereabouts in the ability to fight for points at every single one of those rounds so far.

“That will continue as we go forward at the next few races. We have Baku coming up, a track that should suit the capabilities of our car.

“While we sit here 10th in the championship with just a point to our name, it’s not a fair reflection of the work that has gone into this car so far this year and the tendency, or the performance that the car certainly can have on track.”

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