Albon: FW46 “more raceable” compared to its predecessor, but the pace of Haas F1 a “surprise”

Photo Credit: Williams Racing
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It’s been a tough start to the 2024 F1 season for Williams Racing. As well as not scoring a point yet, the team has failed a lot of scrutiny as not having a spare chassis meant they could only race one car in Melbourne following Alex Albon’s massive FP1 shunt.

Sargeant and Albon’s crashes at Suzuka has also held the team back regarding updates. They will come later in the campaign than planned as they needed to repair parts following Australia and Suzuka, as well as getting a spare chassis in the pool.

Nonetheless, Albon says it has been business as usual for the team as they look to get points soon to reward everyone back at the factory who has worked unbelievably hard since Melbourne in particular.

“That’s all you can really do [carry on as normal], isn’t it?

“We’ve not hit the ground running as we would hope to. And obviously with all the things going on in the background and the parts, quantity and all this kind of thing, it’s more just about trying to keep that motivation and energy into the team, which, don’t get me wrong, it’s been very strong and the response has been amazing from everyone.

“It’s always nice to get some good results and try and get some on the card to give back to everyone.But still, everyone’s very determined.

“We’re only, where are we now, into race five? It feels longer than it has been.

“It’s still early days and we’ve still got things to go through, upgrades and areas to improve on the car.

“Everyone’s still very motivated.”

At this stage last year, Williams had a point on the board but ultimately went on to finish a brilliant P7 in the Constructors’ Championship with 28 points — Albon bagged two P7s and P8s as they held off a charging AlphaTauri at the end of the season.

While the drivers have been pleased with the improvements on the FW46 compared to the FW45, Albon admits the steps made by Haas in race pace has been a surprise.

The Thai is staying positive and is convinced the 2024 package is a more raceable package and simply better overall, even if the results do not show it yet.

He added there is more to extract from the car before updates come, too.

“Partly due to everyone getting better [as to why they have not got a big result yet], I think. The midfield teams have done a bigger jump than the top teams, which is because there’s more time to find, to be honest with you.

“I think the Haas was a bit of a surprise. They’re now one of the top guys, let’s say top teams [in the second group], next to the RBs.

“But looking at ourselves, I still think we’ve got a car that’s good enough to score points.

“We’ve got some clear areas that we need to improve on. I would say nothing is for certain, but it’s almost guaranteed performance that we can get out of the car. We just need to chip away at it during the year.

“Truthfully, the car’s definitely better. I think we’ve definitely got a more raceable car.

“It’s one of those feelings that you go into the start of the year and you know the car’s much quicker, but [you are] almost surprised that everyone in the midfield has done such a big step.

“So you’re relatively looking around, and you’re kind of in the same place as you were before.

“Just like with a Haas, for example, doing even better than we are.

“I’m not doom and gloom. I really feel like we’ve got a car that, on paper, has a lot more potential. We just need to get it [out].”

Pushed on the exact areas Williams needs to improve, the 2-time podium finisher kept his cards close to his chest.

“It’s hard to say. I’d rather keep it to myself and to the team, but there are areas for sure where we can improve.”

Heading into the Miami Grand Prix this weekend, Williams sits P8 in the standings.