Williams F1 team explains factors in Nissany test driver decision

Jonathan Noble
Williams outlines factors in Nissany test driver call

The Williams Formula 1 team says Roy Nissany's attitude and strong work ethic were key factors behind its decision to make him its official test driver for 2020.

Williams announced in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that Nissany will run in three FP1 sessions this year as part of a new deal it has agreed with the sometime Formula 2 driver.

While there are commercial benefits to the deal, as the cars will carry the Israel Start-Up logo on the weekends he is running, Williams insists boosting its finances was not the main motivation for hiring Nissany.

Speaking to selected media, deputy team principal Claire Williams said it would make no sense for an outfit in its position to hire a test driver it believed could not help deliver the feedback required.

She said Nissany's willingness to focus on long-run development work during last year's post-season Abu Dhabi test, rather than go for headline lap times, and the way he interacted with the engineers, had impressed the team.

"We're a team on a journey back to recovery and we've got to have drivers that have the capability to understand what's going on," she said.

"There's no point putting a driver in a car that you think isn't going to do a good job for you, and particularly when you're in the position that we're in.

"We're only going to take drivers that we know are going to be able to understand what's going in the car, to translate that to help with development and Roy proved that when he did the Abu Dhabi test for us at the end of the year."

Williams outlines factors in Nissany test driver call

While Nissany was slowest overall on both days of last year's Abu Dhabi test, and three seconds down on this team-mates, Williams said the times were irrelevant because of the programme he was on.

"It was all about bringing parts for evaluation, so it wasn't about setting the time sheets on fire," she explained.

"It was about doing the work that we asked him to do.

"I think that's to his credit as well because some drivers can get in the car, who have never been in an F1 car before and go: 'Brilliant, this is my opportunity to show the world what I can do'. And then they go and crash it.

"That wasn't the programme, so really the lap times from that time, shouldn't matter, and they don't matter. But what I did see and what I learned from our engineers is that he was incredibly diligent.

"He came and he spent time with the team. He was a real team player who gave it everything that he needed to. He was around and he talked to people.

"That shouldn't be underestimated, how important that can be."

Nissany said he had no hesitation in prioritising the work he had been tasked with in Abu Dhabi.

"Every race driver wants to see his name as high as they can on the monitor, but putting the wishes aside and putting the priorities in the right order for the long term meant I focused on every bit of the task, every little task that the team gave me, without extra thoughts," he said.

"And without thinking about where I will be on the monitor, because it has no meaning, and the job was done well."

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