Albon: Williams switching F1 focus to next season’s development, with an eye on the battle for P7

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Photo credits: Williams Racing

With the summer break coming to an end, cars are back on track this Friday for the Dutch Grand Prix, home race of reigning world champion Max Verstappen.

And while eyes are still set on the second half of the season – which this year sets off with a quite close midfield – teams have begun shifting part of the focus to 2024.

“I think as a team during the second half there is a big approach for next year,” Alex Albon told media in Zandvoort.

“It’s now just about trying to maximize everything we’ve got now to the rest of the year, but at the same time really start to gear up and change some stuff for next year.”

Williams is currently sharing P7 in the Constructors’ Standings with Haas, Albon having scored all of the 11 points the team brought home in the first half of the season.

The FW45 maintained the quite impressive straight line speed the team had already sported last year and introduced the most significant package of upgrades in Montreal.

New sidepods and a new floor to find more downforce, which proved to be rather efficient, as it is at the Canadian GP that Albon managed to score the highest number of points so far this year, 6.

Further upgrades came on board for the team’s home race in Silverstone, while now the intention is to make the most of this second half to be ready for next season without giving up on the challenge for the standings.

”It’s more about experimentation, just trying some things that could give us a little bit of a lead for next year. Likewise in the simulator,” explained Albon.

“But at the same time obviously we still want to try to get 7th in the constructors if we can – that is a clear goal for the team – but at the same time more focus on next year.”

That is for what concerns the team, as for Albon attention is rather set on the upcoming races.

“I think on my side you always focus on the present, because you need to deliver the best job that you can every weekend.”

“For me it’s maybe 80 [percent focus on the current season] – 20 [percent focus on the next one] but that’s just personal. I think for the team and what we are doing it’s 50 and 50 the other way around,” he summed up in numbers.

“But sims day, for example, now are more oriented towards next year’s stuff than it is on this year’s.”

Improvements in performance then will take quite some time, a wait that Albon doesn’t find to be “ frustrating” at all.

“Look at McLaren – that is the kind of jump you want to be making. If you think about how long that has been taking them really to make that jump, McLaren didn’t bring a proper upgrade for the whole year until Silverstone, that was almost a year in the making,” he argued.

“By the looks of it at Aston they sacrificed almost all of last year to make that step for the beginning of this year.”

“You do need to make these kinds of longer term solutions, especially if you balance things you are chasing.”

With regulations remaining unaltered for 2024 he seems rather enthusiastic to experiment and anticipate some work in order to be in best shape for the new season.

“Next year the regulations aren’t changing so, on paper, anything you bring into the car for the rest of the year is only gonna help for next year, it’s gonna be adds on and adds on. But if you wanna make big characteristic changes then you really need time to change.”

“I’m in that kind of area where it’s like I’m actually quite excited for it, because I think we are doing the right thing to take that time away and putting all the focus on next year is the right thing to do.”