Albon: Williams ‘definitely added downforce, but we haven’t always fixed the problematic corners’

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It’s been an encouraging start to the 2023 season for Williams. Although they’ve only scored one point and sit at the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship, they have proven to be competitive at the first four races of the season.

Alex Albon was running P6 in Melbourne before he crashed out of the race. In Baku, the Thai sustained damage on lap one which hindered his race.

Despite the encouraging pace shown to date, the two-time F1 podium finisher believes Williams are realistically fighting AlphaTauri on more normal surfaces and tracks.

“They suit us a bit more than normal surfaces so I don’t want to be one of the pessimists,” Albon said on Thursday. “But I don’t think our car is a true car right now, we’re still racing the AlphaTauris.”

Due to a lack of downforce on the car in recent seasons, Williams have tended to excel at tracks such as Spa and Monza with their prodigious straight-line speed to qualify well and fend off cars in the race with it.

This year it’s a different story. They’ve added more downforce and are no longer the best in the top speed category.

Albon consistently posted the fastest times in sector 2 at Albert Park because of how well the car worked in the quick right of turn 6.

“We’ve not actually been dominating every speed trap,” stated the Thai. “We were last year but we aren’t this year. Even our Sector 2 in Melbourne we were third or fourth quickest down the straight, we weren’t the quickest, we were just very good in Turn 6 itself.”

However, the additional downforce hasn’t cured their biggest issues.

“We’ve definitely added downforce, but we haven’t always fixed the problematic corners, these combined corners, they’re our biggest weaknesses.”

Something Albon referenced to in Baku and once again yesterday is the team’s ability to be up to speed quickly on a race weekend in regards to car setup.

The former Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver finished inside the top 10 in FP1 and the sprint shootout in Azerbaijan, and he just missed out on Q3 in normal qualifying on Friday for Sunday’s race.

“I feel like we’re going into weekends with a good baseline,” said Albon. “And because of the regulation change last year, there was a lot of discovery about each circuit.

“Now we’re in a point where it’s like ‘no this works’, we start off and we’re in a good place and it’s just fine-tuning straightaway.”

Photo credit: Williams Racing