“Something will give” — Vowles admits Williams F1 updates will be delayed following Albon’s crash in Australia

Photo Credit: Williams Racing
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When it comes to chaos, the Australian Grand Prix did not disappoint. One team that was severely damaged was Williams, only having one car in the race due to Alex Albon’s shunt that saw his car end up heavily in the wall in Practice 1. 

Usually, the hefty damage to Albon’s car wouldn’t have been a major issue and both cars would still race, because almost always teams have a spare chassis. Having a third chassis is basically a get-out-of-jail free card, where if one of the drivers wrecks the car before the race, they have a way to salvage the car for the Grand Prix. Since you never really know what could happen in practice and qualifying, having a third chassis is always great to have.

James Vowles explained it has happened to him before. During his many years at Brackley, the team went through this in 2009 with Brawn GP as they had very little money to spend following Honda’s shock departure at the end of 2008.

“No team plans to not have a third chassis, not in modern-day Formula 1. The last time I had that was in 2009 [with Brawn GP],” stated James Vowles.

But the time they didn’t have a spare chassis is when they really needed it. With Alex Albon’s car being unusable, a hard decision had to be made. Logan Sargeant sat out of the Australian Grand Prix as he was replaced by the Thai, and let’s just say this decision did not go over lightly with fans.

Williams received an immense amount of negative push back, especially after the race when it was then confirmed Albon did not score any points. All of this because there was no spare chassis. 

It’s no secret Williams are a long way behind other teams in terms of their facilities and overall development. Just this year the team finally upgraded their steering wheel to the modern one every other team uses. 

“In the case of what we are doing at the moment. The reason why it’s come about, though, is because we are on the back foot with everything,” Vowles said. 

“As we try and move through processing systems and transformation, something’s being pushed out the back. And in this case, it’s the third chassis.”

Maybe if the incident in Australia didn’t happen, the sacrifice to the third chassis would have actually benefited the team’s development. But now, everything has changed. 

According to Vowles, both cars will be in good shape for Japan this weekend. But, there is a price to pay for that, with a delay to the upgrades and in the development path they had mapped out. 

“I’m having to divert the entire workforce and getting this chassis in a good state, without losing the momentum we have on the third chassis and on updates, something will give – there’s no doubt about it.”