Albon admits it’s a “tough time” for Williams F1 as the team goes through a “character-building” phase

Photo Credit: Williams Racing
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It has been a brutal start to the 2024 Formula One for Williams Racing. In Bahrain and Saudi Arabia they failed to score points. Much worse was to follow from there, however.

During first practice at Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix last month, Alex Albon had a big crash at turn 7. Such was the impact with the wall, it destroyed his chassis and could not be fixed at the circuit.

Logan Sargeant was forced to give his car up for the Thai driver as the team did not have a spare chassis with them in Melbourne. The driver swap did not pay off as Albon finished P11 in the race itself.

At Suzuka, the Floridian driver crashed in FP1, damaging the front wing and suspension. Fortunately for him and the team, the repaired chassis he was given was not damaged again.

On race day in Japan, Albon’s contact with Daniel Ricciardo sent him into the wall, damaging the chassis Sargeant had been using in the first 2 races before the Thai got it from Saturday onwards in Melbourne.

Williams Team Principal James Vowles spoke about how the incredibly difficult start to the campaign for the team has united them.

As well as repairing chassis following Australia and Japan, the FW46 was completed with very little time to spare before Bahrain. It meant a spare chassis simply dropped down the priority order, leaving them without one for the first 4 events. That will also be the case in Shanghai this weekend.

Asked about how things are in the team, Alex Albon admits it’s a tough time for them right now, labelling it a character-building period for everyone at Grove.

“Yes. Obviously we haven’t had a great start to the season. With everything going on as well, we’ve been on the back foot.

“But it’s always been kind of the Williams way that everyone digs deep and genuinely produces miracles to get cars built, repaired and ready on time.

“Unfortunately we’re going to have to rely on that for a little bit longer as well now.

“There is definitely character-building [happening] across the whole factory. It’s a tough time.

“Obviously it’s frustrating for everyone. I feel like we’re in a tough place and now it’s just [about] staying motivated, hungry and driven to bounce back strong.”

Vowles has been consistently open and transparent since taking over as Williams boss ahead of the 2023 season. The Brit has not hidden the fact that the team is a long way behind with its facilities compared to the top teams.

The car concept is also vastly different compared to last season, meaning it was a race against time to have the FW46 up and running in Bahrain.

Unfortunately for the team, the crashes in Australia and Japan has forced them to repair 2 chassis. It turn this means upgrades will be delayed to further hurt their season as it goes on, as Albon points out.

“We know the extent. We’re not hiding from it.

“It’s just a lot of time and effort to repair [chassis] rather than to develop and focus on upgrades.

“It will pay its toll later on into the season. But yeah, heads down and focus forwards.”

Ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, Williams sits P8 in the Constructors’ Championship.