Formula One

Albon projects Williams to be ’10th quickest team’


Alex Albon projects Williams will line up at the tail end of the field in the opening races of 2023 based on his initial take-away from pre-season testing.

Williams brought up the rear last season, which was Albon’s first campaign with the British outfit, and the Anglo-Thai racer unfortunately doesn’t see the team’s new FW45 improving its position in the running order.

Williams welcomed over the winter former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal, but the Grove-based outfit is still without a technical director, a state of affairs that could limit the team’s progress according to Albon.

“Firstly, I’m possibly a little bit more pessimistic than optimistic, at least from the initial look at testing we are the 10th quickest team,” he said in Bahrain ahead of this weekend’s opening Grand Prix.

“I know I’ve said this last year but it’s really about how we go through the year.


“Are we understanding the car better? We are obviously still without a technical director, but we need to see progress in the areas we do feel limited driving-wise.

“If we do see progress, we’re clearly heading in the right direction. We’ve already done a step, but we need to continue and see more of that.

“It’s clear with the wind in testing and depending on the angle of the wind, it was very tricky for us. A couple of corners, I’ve said it to you before, the low-speed corners [we are struggling].

“If we can end the season better than we started, which we did last year, I’ll be happy.”

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Albon believes a few specific tracks will cater to the characteristics of Williams’ charger. But overall, points are likely to be hard to come by for F1’s third most successful team on the grid.

“Of course, taking the moments we can, Monza and Spa, these type of circuits, will continue, I believe, to be quite good for us. We just want to be quicker and have the chance more often.

“We definitely have made a better car but in terms of pace, everyone has. It’s all relative. When I look at it, we’re going to really have to fight for a chance of points.

“It’s not going to be an easy one, something has to happen for that to happen.”

Albon reckons that based on pre-season testing, Williams will be in good company in the lower tier of F1’s midfield, suggesting that McLaren could be one of its direct rivals.

“When I look at testing, we’ve been very reliable, which is a very good positive to have,” Albon the 26-year-old.

“Being the first race of the year, there is a bit of reliability problems and hopefully we can take advantage of that.

“But in terms of pure pace, I think there’s a lot of teams out there that have made big steps – Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, I’m sure the Alpine will be good.

“Around us, our direct rivals [are] AlphaTauri and McLaren. I still think we’re a little bit behind, but let’s see.”

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Albon projects Williams to be ’10th quickest team’

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