Albon finds positives after F1 Imola GP: “It’s not doom and gloom — if we didn’t have a plan I would call it doom and gloom”

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A race to forget for Williams Racing in Imola. A weekend that started on such a high following the news of a contract extension for the highly sought after Alex Albon, ended with zero points. A case of what might have been for Williams but Albon was eager not to dwell on misfortune seeing how the midfield are ‘not scoring a tremendous amount of points’ so the gap to Williams is not as great as it could be.

Albon’s race was all but over after a problem in his first pit stop with the right front wheel. Having served the penalty due the car being unsafely released to return to the track, Williams then chose to use Sunday’s Grand Prix more like a test. The aim was to see what lessons could be learned for next year. However, before the chequered flag fell, the team chose to retire Albon and now the Thai driver looks ahead to Monaco.

Albon was asked to reflect on the pitstop error post-race and how soon he realised that his wheel wasn’t right.

“I didn’t feel it coming down the pits but as soon as I took the pit limiter off there was like a vibration and then I could tell something was wrong,” said Albon.

With that in mind and the fact that Albon would have known such a release always ends up with a penalty, Albon was then asked how he felt it was safe enough to drive his car back to the pits.

“Because it was still attached and I think if I felt it when I was turning around corners you can see if the tyre’s going to fall off but it was getting, it would only go to a point and stop so I could see it was quite safe. Like there was only about 10mm of movement on the tyre so,” explained Albon.

With his race strategy spun on its head, the mileage was then used as a test style format for the team. Albon reflected on how such an approach may benefit the team long-term.

“We were just trying to figure out some of our braking feelings with the car and just trying to see if there were any solutions on the long run with the car we’ve got, with the wind and just with the kind of rearwards,” Albon said. “Just playing around with the brakes basically. It was okay, just, yeah, I don’t know if there’s much to say really, just driving around, experimenting but yeah.”

Albon was then asked as to how frustrating this period of the season is. Seeing how he can see the long term upside but nevertheless there is a lot of pain that he is enduring at present.

“There is, there is, there is,” Albon said while looking for the best response to follow. “What’s positive is that — it’s not really a positive — but that kind of midfield, they’re not scoring a tremendous amount of points so it’s not like we’re falling away and we can’t catch up. I think if you look at last year we were in the same position, we scored one I think it was one point at this point last year and then we came on strong.”

As positive as Albon was sounding his tone was then pragmatic as he said: “Albeit we had a big upgrade package that was coming to the car — so it was a bit more this year.”

The ‘pain’ may also last a while longer seeing how Williams are busy trying to take weight out of their car, whereas their rivals are upgrading. Once again though, Albon is not one to dwell on positives as he continued.

“I don’t know how my race pace was but I was kind of okay, I was in no man’s land. I didn’t have any tyres left after the issue but in my head it’s not doom and gloom. If we didn’t have a plan I would call it doom and gloom.”

As for whether Monaco will bring better fortune, Albon was keen to remind those in attendance post race that Monaco is not a track the team has performed well at in recent years he said, “it’s actually a track that we’ve always struggled at.”

Even so, this won’t hold Albon back either as he said it’s one of the tracks he feels excited to go to.

“I’m hoping Monaco is going to be a good example of a step forward for our car, our foundation of our car and then I’m interested to go to Canada and see if the car is stronger like it was last year.”

This talented and positive driver is what Williams have retained in their ranks for the coming years and we can be sure that when Albon has the right package he will then deliver the points. As for how far ahead his rivals may already be by then remains to be seen. One can imagine though, whatever the gap, Albon is the right man to chase it down.